The new generation French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (French acronym-PANG) announced Tuesday by France’s President Emmanuel Macron, will house nearly 30 Future Combat Air System (FCAS) jets.
In comparison, the U.S. Navy’s Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier can carry over 75 aircraft while China’s Type 001A can carry around 30. Ford-class warships will replace Nimitz-class ships that can carry 60 aircraft in all.
“Charles de Gaulle, as you know, will come to the end of its life in 2038. This is why I have decided that the future aircraft carrier that will equip our country and our navy will be nuclear-powered like the Charles de Gaulle,” Macron said during his visit to French nuclear power company Framatome.
“Your plant in Le Creusot, which has been producing parts essential to our navy for a long time, will produce, among others, several major parts of the nuclear boiler of the future aircraft carrier by forging and machining them right here. … By these choices, we confirm France’s desire to preserve its strategic autonomy,” he added.
The Charles de Gaulle carrier is expected to go out of service when the PANG enters the French Navy in 2038.
The French defense ministry said today that the new warship will have a length of 330m, a width of 80m, maximum speed of 27 knots (55kmph) and a displacement of 75,000 tons. The ship will be able to accommodate 2000 sailors and carry electromagnetic catapults. The first steel cut is set for 2025, while sea trials are slated to begin in 2036.
It will house electromagnetic catapults and around thirty new generation SCAF combat aircraft. Its crew will consist of around 2,000 sailors.
The choice of nuclear propulsion will allow the aircraft carrier to gain in autonomy, since its supply needs will be limited. It also increases its availability, insofar as technical shutdowns will only occur every 10 years compared to 7 to 8 years today.
The PANG will be built from the end of 2025 upon completion of the development studies. It should carry out its first sea trials in 2036 for admission to active service in the French Navy in 2038, the date of the withdrawal of Charles de Gaulle, the ministry said.