New French aircraft carrier will be nuclear, Emmanuel Macron said

PARIS, (BM) – French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the new French carrier would be nuclear-powered, learned citing Defence24. Its construction will carry out by a consortium of the largest French companies, the Naval Group shipbuilding concern leader.

Read more: Top 5 largest aircraft carriers in the world

This project’s main contractors welcomed President Macron’s decision:

  • The Naval Group shipbuilding group.
  • The Chantiers de l’Atlantique Saint-Nazaire shipyard [the only shipyard in France capable of building ships of this size].
  • TechnicAtome.
  • The Dassault Aviation company.

Thanks to it, they will start research leading to introducing a successor for the currently used aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle” by 2038. It now knows that it will be again a nuclear-powered ship, with a displacement of around 75,000 tons and 300 meters in length [compared to 42,000 tons and 261 meters for the Charles de Gaulle].

“Of course, deterrence applies to all its elements: it is, of course, the propulsion of our nuclear ballistic submarines and nuclear strike ships, but it is also the nuclear propulsion of our aircraft carriers … such as “Charles de Gaulle” with nuclear power … Nuclear energy will remain the cornerstone of our strategic autonomy,” Emmanuel Macron President of the French Republic said.

Macron’s decision is not important merely because of the increased capacity of the French naval force. The Naval Group recalls that it is equally essential to create jobs in the industrial and research sectors through this project. Also, to “ensure the sustainability of our capabilities given the current health and economic crisis. This project will help introduce innovation in the field of propulsion and military systems. High added value, thus maintaining France’s technological advantage and position as a superpower”.

The new project’s main contractors are already declaring their will to meet all the requirements and needs articulated by the Directorate General for Armaments DGA [Direction générale de l’armement] and the French commission on nuclear energy and alternative energy sources.

The choice of companies implementing the entire project was no surprise to anyone. The leader of the whole undertaking will undoubtedly be the Naval Group shipbuilding concern, which built the three previous French aircraft carriers [“Clemenceau,” “Foch,” and “Charles de Gaulle”]. He is also the only one in Europe and one of the few in the world to design and build aircraft carriers with catapults and onboard brakes.

It was also the Naval Group that mastered the ability, in cooperation with the CEA and TechnicAtome, to integrate two nuclear reactors onboard a surface ship. The success is all the more significant as the entire drive system turned out to be completely reliable and safe. The Naval Group will also be the ship’s combat system supplier, ensuring full integration with the allied forces. This system will allow the carrier to prepare, coordinate, and conduct tasks with the air group [including self-defense] and the ship’s forces’ real-time command.

So far, it is assuming that the carrier’s work will carry out in the years 2021-2038. Following the concept phase, the Naval Group and its industrial partners will conduct preliminary design studies expected to last two years. Then, preliminary detailed design studies should carry out, in which the necessary conditions for the execution of the aircraft carrier will be determined. The development phase lasts until 2025, and it is assumed that it will cost about one billion euros.

Read more: France intends to build a next generation aircraft carrier

Due to the project’s complexity, all major Naval Group plants in Lorient, Nantes-Indret, Toulon, Angoulême-Ruelle, Bagneuxet Brest, and the plants of the essential co-contractors: Chantiers de l’Atlantique, TechnicAtome are to be involved in the work on the shipbuilding and Dassault Aviation. The French company Framatome, based in Le Creusot, will build two new reactors. President Macron announced in these plants on December 8, 2020, that the new aircraft carrier would be nuclear-powered.


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