- Charles De Gaulle Class Page
SPECIFICATIONS PHOTOGRAPHS (Click on the pictures for an enlarged photo)

Designation: CVN
Length: 860 ft
Width: 203 ft
Beam: 113 ft
Displacement: 40,600 tons
Propulsion: 2 PWR Type K15 nuclear reactors,
2 shafts
Speed: 27 knots
Crew: 1,950
Airwing: 40 fixed, rotary
- 2 X 16 Aster SAM
- 2 X 6 Sadral SAM
- 8 X 20mm GIat CIWS
Elevators: 2
Catapaults: 2
Ships in class: 1
R91 Charles De Gaulle
Next to the United States, the French have mantained conventional carrier operations for longer than any other nation, and have gained the experience associated with it. Operating the two Clemenceua class carriers for years, they were able to keep a carrier and its embarked airwing deployed for much of the last 40 years. As those two carriers aged, the French planned to replace them with two nuclear carriers.

The first of that class, the Charles De Gaulle, was launched in 1994, but not commissioned until 2000, suffering from numerous delays and problems with the nuclear reactors and overall design. After completion, the flight deck had to be lengthened to accomodate the E-2 Hawkeyes the French had purchased from the United States for AEW duties

When finally commissioned, on her first major voyage, the vessel developed cracks in the propeller and had to go back into the yards. Finally, in 2001 she was pronounced fully healthy and then helped take part in Operation Enduring Freedom against the Taliban in Afghanistan. She has been sailing and conducting operations ever since with the normal maintenance and repair layovers. Thjis has included significant and very successful crossdecking exerices with US nculear aircraft carriers, like the five week long "“Bois Belleau" exercises conducted with the US Navy Harry S. Truman nuclear powered aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea in December 2013.

With the successful launch, commissioning, and operations (albeit delayed) of the Charles de Gaulle, the French joined an elite club with nuclear aircraft carrier operations that contains only two countries, themselves and the United States.

The French have since decommissioned both of their other carriers, the Clemenceau has been scrapped and the Foche was sold to Brazil where it has been refitted and recommissioned in the Brazilain navy as the Sao Paulo, the flagship of their fleet.

The French had plan to build another nuclear carrier of the Charles de Gaulle class, but first opted to make it conventionally powered instead, and now have decided to forego a second carrier altogether for the forseeable future.

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Last Update : 14-FEB-2014
Jeff Head is an engineering consultant with many years experience in the power, defense, and computer industries. He currently works for the federal government helping maintain and protect regional infrastructure. He is a member of the U.S. Naval Institute, and is also the author of a self-published and best-selling series of military techno-thrillers called the Dragon's Fury that projects a fictional third world war arising out of current events. You can learn more about that series by clicking on the pictures of the novel covers below:


Copyright © 2005-2012 by Jeff Head


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