The Charles De Gaulle is a 38,000 ton, nuclear powered French aircraft carrier launched in May 1994. The ship operates a fleet of 40 Rafale M combat aircraft, the Super Etendard and three E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft. The ship also supports the AS 565 Panther and Dauphin helicopters. There are two lifts, measuring 19 x 13 m, which have a load capacity of 36 tons. The hangar has a floor area of 140 x 30 metres and a height 6.1 metres.
It accommodates 20 to 25 aircraft. The main deck consists of a main runway angled at 8.5 degrees to the ship's axis and an aircraft launch area forward of the island. The runway and the forward launch area are each equipped with a USN Type C13 catapult rated to handle aircraft up to 22 tonnes and capable of launching one aircraft per minute. The runway is 195 metres long and the whole deck measures 260 x 64 metres.
The ship's weapons are managed by a Senit Combat Management System, CMS Model 8. The system has the capacity to track up to 2,000 friendly and hostile targets. The weapon control system consists of two Sagem Vigy 105 optronic directors. The ship has two Sagem Vampir search and track systems. The ship is fitted with the Aster 15 surface-to-air missile launchers, Sylver vertical launch systems, installed on the edge of the deck, with two launchers (16 cells) on the starboard side forward of the bridge and two launchers on the port side aft of the bridge.
The ship has two six-cell Sadral launching systems for the Mistral missile positioned on the edges of the main deck about 45 metres (starboard side) and 36 metres (port side) aft of the Aster missile launchers. The ship is also equipped with eight Giat 20F2 guns and four decoy launchers are installed, two on either side of the ship firing chaff to 8 km and infra-red flares to a range of 3 km.
The defense council of 23 September 1980 considered the replacement of the aircraft carriers Clemenceau (22 November 1961 - 1 October 1997) and Foch (15 July 1963 - 15 November 2000) and after a few years of debate between the supporters of the spokesman, Aircraft (with ADAV / C aircraft) and supporters of the classical aircraft carrier (CATOBAR / CTOL), the latter (prior to the Falklands War (April 2 - June 14, 1982) invalidated the aircraft carrier concept Bearing the ADAV / C as a power projection tool.
The draft of the PA75 was validated by the Superior Council of the Navy on June 6, 1984. The order is ordered by the Minister of Defense, Paul Quilès, February 3 1986 and the first sheet cut on 25 November of the same year. The ship was put on hold in 1987 after the new Minister of Defense had definitively validated the construction of the Richelieu, which would become the Charles de Gaulle on May 18, 1986 by the choice of Prime Minister Jacques Chirac.
The cost of nuclear propulsion on PAN 1 represents 18% of the total cost for the two K15 boilers. Of the 20% overrun of the original estimate, half is attributable to changes in standards in nuclear safety (and its 4000 tons of additional protections). The cost of ATMs / IPERs, excluding half-life or one-third of the service, was approximately 300 million, a large part of which is linked to the reloading of nuclear cores to fuel, which allows five years 25 knots of navigation.