France Unveils Scale Model Of Its Nuke-Powered Aircraft Carrier
France’s Naval Group has unveiled a scale model of the nuclear-powered, all-electric, new-generation aircraft carrier which is to replace the nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle in 2038. Christina MacKenzie reported for Breaking Defense.
Photo Insert: PANG will carry about 32 new generation fighters, up to three E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes (France ordered three in the last days of 2021, for delivery in 2028), and a number of unmanned aircraft.
Known for the time being as the PANG (for Porte Avion Nouvelle Génération), the 75,000 metric ton (MT) ship will be 310 meters (1,017 ft) long and 85 meters (279 feet) at the widest point of the carrier deck.
The two nuclear reactors, provided by TechnicAtome, will provide electricity for three shaft drives (for a size comparison, the larger US aircraft carriers have four shaft drives).
The Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA) atomic energy commission will oversee the execution and coordination of the reactors, which will only need to be refueled once every 10 years — meaning, at least in theory, the ship could stay at sea for that entire time.
PANG will carry about 32 new generation fighters, up to three E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes (France ordered three in the last days of 2021, for delivery in 2028) and a number of unmanned aircraft.
It will be built by a joint venture, MO Porte Avions (the MO stands for Maîtrise d’Oeuvre i.e. execution and coordination), created in March 2021 between Naval Group and the Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
Olivier de Saint Julien, the director, said at the Euronaval show — which opened Tuesday in Le Bourget— that the Chantiers de l’Atlantique had a dry dock in Saint Nazaire, on the west coast of France, which was big enough to build the PANG.
The existing Naval Group dry dock used for the Charles de Gaulle is too small, as the PANG will outclass the older carrier by 159 feet in length and 68 feet in width.
The decision to replace the Charles de Gaulle with another nuclear-powered ship was taken by President Emmanuel Macron in December 2020. The design revealed today may get tweaked between now and 2025 when the design will be fixed, Saint Julien explained.
“The first sea trials are expected to take place in 2036, the ship delivered to the Navy in 2037 and operational in 2038 at which point the Charles de Gaulle can retire,” he said.