The “Charles de Gaulle” will have a successor, operational if all goes well in 2038. President Emmanuel Macron, head of the armed forces, announced in Le Creusot the launch of the future “new generation aircraft carrier” (PANG), which will be like its nuclear-powered predecessor. If it was expected – the studies having started in 2018 -, this choice as industrial as political marks an anchoring in a civil and military nuclear sector launched by de Gaulle and amplified under Giscard.
Not trivial either, the decision to embark on an expensive project – the total price being estimated for the moment from an unofficial source around 5 billion euros – in a period of lasting economic crisis. “In a dangerous world, where the Charles de Gaulle has proved its usefulness against Daesh, France cannot ignore this strategic tool of diplomatic sovereignty ”, we justify in the office of the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly. Especially at a time when more and more countries, such as China, India or Russia, are developing their fleets: from 28 aircraft carriers today in the world (including eleven Americans, the only other nuclear ones), the figure will increase to 36 in 2040 according to projections by military experts.
Besides the symbol, what are the advantages of nuclear power over diesel propulsion, which is less expensive? “A more enduring, more autonomous and more operational ship, because it takes less time to supply it at sea than a conventional aircraft carrier”, details a ministerial adviser, who plans a major review “every ten years, against 7 at 8 years old for Charles de Gaulle ”. This choice also guarantees the maintenance of a body of technicians and engineers competent in a rare field of expertise, that of nuclear heating systems. Which also equip the submarines of the French Navy. Those of the PANG will have a power one and a half times higher than the machines of the “Charles”, but of similar design to limit the risk of industrial “crash”.
“A consent granted” with the United States
What will this ship look like? It will be bigger (300 m long against 262) than the “Charles”, will go at the same speed of 27 knots (50 km / h) and will have like it some 2000 sailors, with more living space, “the lessons from Covid-19 having been learned ”. But it will embark fewer hunters, 30 instead of 40. Explanation: the future SCAF, a Franco-German-Hispanic combat aircraft, will be heavier and bulkier than the Rafale. The catapults will no longer be steam, but electromagnetic, still of American manufacture, for a cost estimated according to certain information at nearly 1 billion euros… which does not confirm the firm of Florence Parly.
For such a small market, there is no question of launching a national sector: “the United States are our strategic partners, it is a consensual dependence”, justifies the ministry. Nevertheless, in 2004, during the cold snap linked to Bush’s war in Iraq, the Pentagon did not hesitate to resort to small military embargoes to “punish” Chirac’s France …
What timetable? The shipyard, which will occupy 2,000 full-time jobs divided between the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire and Pays de la Loire, Brittany and the Aix-en-Provence region, will take place in three phases. The first, studies and finalization from 2020 to 2025, at a cost of “a billion”. Then construction until 2036, before two years of sea trials and commissioning, concomitant with the withdrawal of the “Charles de Gaulle” in 2038. As for the name of the future flagship of the French Navy, it remains to be found …
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr