The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle returns to sea after an interruption


The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, flagship of the French Navy, was put back into service at the end of September after having carried out a maintenance period of three months.

Recent maintenance focused on modernizing the aircraft carrier’s combat system. The living conditions of the crew have also been improved. The ship conducted sea trials in September.

“Now it is time for the ship to pick up speed,” the French Navy said in a statement. reported by Naval News this week. “For this new crew, in place for three weeks now, it is a question of continuing to learn about this complex vessel; to know it in great detail for those who have just arrived, and to share their knowledge for the older ones.

Charles de Gaulle is expected to participate in the next exercise “POLARIS” later this year. The exercise will place the aircraft carrier and its attack group in a high intensity combat readiness scenario. This large-scale exercise would involve the French Army and the French Air Force, as well as nearly fifty percent of the French Navy’s first rank (frontline) surface fighters.

Charles de Gaulle is the 10th French aircraft carrier and the first French nuclear-powered surface ship. It is also the only operational nuclear powered carrier apart from those in service with the US Navy. Since 2021, it has also been the only non-US aircraft carrier to use a catapult launch system, which has enabled it to operate with F / A-18E / F Super Hornets and C-2 Greyhound aircraft.

The carrier is named after the French statesman and General Charles de Gaulle. It suffered several setbacks and delays during a 15-year construction period before entering service in 2001.

Future French carrier

While the Charles de Gaulle should remain in service until 2040, Paris has already considered the next carrier. New Generation Aircraft Carrier (PANG) is the new generation nuclear powered aircraft carrier under development for the French Navy. The construction of the warship is expected to begin in 2025 and the entry into service of the ship is scheduled for 2039. The French aircraft carrier will be built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

The Ministry of the Armed Forces has already committed 261 million euros (305.9 million dollars) for future studies of the PANG program. It was previously assumed that the PANG would likely be nuclear powered with two K22 reactors and that the future warship would be larger than the Charles de Gaulle. It should also have an air squadron that would include thirty-two new generation fighter jets.

While French President Emmanuel Macron officially the green light The construction of a new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier under the PANG program in December 2020, there has been little news on progress since. It seems that for the moment the French Navy is concentrating on the return to service of its current flagship.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to over four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He writes regularly on military small arms and is the author of several books on military hairstyles, including A gallery of military hairstyles, which is available on

Image: Reuters

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