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DCNS Evolved Aircraft Carrier (DEAC)

The permanence of availability that had characterized the French naval fleet is no longer possible with a single carrier. To re-establish this permanence of availability, a second aircraft carrier would have to be available. It was one of the discreet stars of the Euronaval fair on 30 October 2010. The new "PA2" was unveiled at the DCNS booth, the result of work by DCNS and STX France since the abandonment of the Franco-British aircraft carrier project in June 2008. The general design of the vessel was reminiscent of the "Juliette" project, initiated by DCNS before a cooperation agreement was signed by London and Paris in March 2006.

Displayed in February 2014, the DCNS Evolved Aircraft Carrier (DEAC) was compatible with all CTOL aircraft (including Airborne Early Warning aircraft) and features the latest technologies including cutting-edge Combat System (SETIS®), UAV integration, advanced conventional propulsion and state-of-the-art platform stabilisation system (SATRAP/COGITE). It would provided power projection, sea control and air defence and based on French Navy CVN Charles de Gaulle's combat proven design and aviation system, In addition to the design, DCNS offered customised transfer of technology, material packages, dedicated infrastructures development (i.e. naval base and construction/maintenance shipyard) as well as life support solutions.

The question of choosing the propulsion for the second aircraft carrier (PA 2) is anything but settled. Proponents of classic and nuclear propulsion launch and revive studies. Professor Coutau-Bégarie emphasizes an affec for the very powerful atom (Hervé Coutau-Bégarie, "The problem of the second aircraft carrier", Revue de Défense nationale, July 2003, pp. 135-144). The choice of such a propulsion, in addition to submarines (SNA and SNLE), for surface vessels goes back to the PA58, the draft of an atomic-powered cruiser and the two PH75.

The displacement of the PA2 is 59,000 tons at full load. This building is therefore less heavy than the French version of the CVF previously studied (65,000 tons). However, the capacities in the carriage of aircraft are identical, with infrastructures sized for 32 Rafale, 3 Hawkeye and 5 helicopters. This design benefits from the previous one of an improved form of hull. In general, the boat has been optimized to meet the needs of the French Navy, but also with a very strong cost reduction perspective.

Officially, no figure is given but, a reduced cost of approximately 20% was expected. Efforts were focused on the budget required for the implementation phase, But also on operation, with reduced maintenance and a restricted crew thanks to automation. Thus, the crew of the PA2 was given as 1690 people, of which only 900 for the driving of the ship. This represented a significant decrease compared to the Charles de Gaulle. Although smaller (261 meters, 42,000 tons) and carrying fewer aircraft, the current French aircraft carrier is armed by just under 2,000 people (including the on-board air group).

The PA2 had two boilers to power two 90-meter steam catapults. Not yet mature and probably more expensive, the concept of electromagnetic catapults, designed to equip the new American carriers, was not retained. The model presented by DCNS and STX adopted an all-electric propulsion, with three diesel-alternators, a gas turbine and three electric propulsion motors. The whole develops 85MW, of which 64 MW for the only propulsion, which must allow the carrier to spin at 26 knots. In the event of damage to one of these shafts, the concept of three lines allows a speed of 20 knots to be maintained, which is sufficient to accommodate a large Hawkeye-type aircraft despite strong constraints (wind and with the device inoperative).

For French manufacturers, the new PA2 design is the best compromise between the French industrial capabilities, the cost constraints of the Ministry of Defense and the operational requirements of the navy. Simple and robust, using as much as possible civil technologies ("COTS" equipment on shelves), this PA2 revisited uses maximum reliability materials. This is particularly the case for radars, with the use of Herakles, already chosen for the 11 future multi-mission frigates (FREMM) of the French Navy. There is also above the bridge a SMART-S type surveillance radar, sold by Thales to many navies. The self-defense system is also limited to two quadruple launchers for Aster 15 missiles and small-caliber tele-operated artillery. The cost constraints of the Department of Defense and the operational requirements of the Navy.

The draft budget for 2012 envisaged the preparation of the next major stop of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The second major technical stop the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, in 2016-2017, requires provision already long-term supply, hence the mention in the draft budget law for 2012, and which is found in the following years.

If the decision was taken in 2012 and new studies are launched, it is hard to imagine that the construction plans will be ready by 2015 at best. It will then be necessary to count a minimum of 7 and a half years, the incompressible duration currently estimated for the construction, until the ship is operational. This would bring about the commissioning of the PA2 around 2023, about 25 years after the first outing to the sea of Charles de Gaulle.



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