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fighting ships of the world

FRENCH NAVY (FRANCE)

AIRCRAFT CARRYING SHIPS

CLEMENCEAU aircraft carriers (1961 - 1963)

Clemenceau 1963

Clemenceau 1970

Clemenceau 1980

Clemenceau 1990

Name No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Clemenceau R98 Arsenal de Brest 11/1955 21/12/1957 12/11/1961 stricken 3/1998
Foch R99 Penhoët-Loire, St-Nazaire / Arsenal de Brest 2/1957 28/7/1960 15/7/1963 to Brazil 11/2000 (São Paulo)

 

Displacement standard, t

22352

Displacement full, t

31496

Length, m

238.0 pp 265.0 oa

Breadth, m

R98: 29.9 wl 51.2 fd

R99: 31.7 wl 51.2 fd

Draught, m

8.60

No of shafts

2

Machinery

Parsons geared steam turbines, 6 Indret boilers

Power, h. p.

126000

Max speed, kts

32

Fuel, t

oil 3720

Endurance, nm(kts) 7500(18)

Armour, mm

box protection over machinery and other vital parts: 50 - 30, flight deck: 45

Armament

8 x 1 - 100/55 Mod 1953, 40 aircraft (SE.20 Aquilon 202/203, Étendard IVM/P fighters, Br.1050 Alizé ASW planes)

Sensors

R98: DRBV-20C, DRBV-23B, DRBV-50, 2x DRBI-10, 2x DRBC 32A, 2x DRBC 31D, NRBA-50, CCA radars, SQS-503 sonar, ARBR-16, ARBX-10 ECM suites, 2 Syllex decoy launchers, SENIT-1 CCS

R99: DRBV-20C, DRBV-23B, DRBV-50, 2x DRBI-10, 2x DRBC 32C, 2x DRBC 31C, NRBA-50, CCA radars, SQS-503 sonar, ARBR-16, ARBX-10 ECM suites, 2 Syllex decoy launchers, SENIT-1 CCS

Complement

1338

Aircraft facilities R98 (fd - 12,000m², ha - 4,140m² / 29,000m³): Flight deck: 265.0.0x51.2m. Hangar: 180.0x(22.0-24.0)x7.0m. There were 2 lifts, fore at centreline (17.0x13.0m, 15t) and aft at deck edge (16.0x11.0m, 15t). There were two BS-5 catapults. Aircraft fuel stowage: 1,200,000l of jet fuel and 400,000l of petrol.

Aircraft facilities R99 (fd - 12,000m², ha - 4,140m² / 29,000m³): Flight deck: 265.0.0x51.2m. Hangar: 180.0x(22.0-24.0)x7.0m. There were 2 lifts, fore at centreline (17.0x13.0m, 15t) and aft at deck edge (16.0x11.0m, 15t). There were two BS-5 catapults. Aircraft fuel stowage: 1,800,000l of jet fuel and 109,000l of petrol.

     

Year fighters fighters-bombers recon planes ASW planes helicopters
9/1967, Clemenceau 6 F-8E(FN) 18 Étendard IVM --- 8 Alizé ---
4/1977, Clemenceau 10 F-8E(FN) 16 Étendard IVM 4 Étendard IVP 6 Alizé 2 Super Frelon, 2 Alouette II
1983, Foch 6 F-8E(FN) 15 Super Étendard 3 Étendard IVP 5 Alizé 6 Super Frelon
1990, both 10 F-8E(FN) 16 Super Étendard 3 Étendard IVP 7 Alizé 2 Alouette III

Ship project history: Clemenceau, allocated the project number PA 54, was the first carrier designed as such to be completed in France. Considerably larger than PA 28, she was designed to incorporate all the advances made in carrier aviation during the early 1950s. A fully-angled flight deck was provided, together with a mirror landing sight and an altogether more comprehensive outfit of air search and tracking radars.

    The length/displacement ratio was exceptional. The flight deck was angled at 8 to the ship's axis. The hangar, as in previous French designs, was offset to port, and has an overall length of 180m, of which 152m were usable. Two 52m Mitchell-Brown steam catapults were fitted. In the original design both would have been located forward, but one was moved to the angled deck in order to create a deck parking area to starboard. The catapults can accept aircraft weights of up to 20t and can produce a speed of 140kts with a 30kt wind-over-deck.

    The two-shift propulsion system was remarkable for a ship of this size; the figure of 63,000shp per shaft has been surpassed only by the 'super carriers' of the US Navy.

    Originally Clemencau was to have been armed with twelve 57mm twin mountings, but these were subsequently replaced by the new single 100mm, and the ship was finally completed with only eight 100mm single mountings.

    A capacity of up to sixty aircraft was contemplated, but by 1960 this figure had fallen to forty, as a reflection of the increased size and weight of the new jets. A new generation of aircraft was specially designed to operate from the new carriers. Two flights of Étendard IVM ground support fighters (into which was incorporated a handful of IVP tactical reconnaissance/tanker aircraft) were embarked, together with a flight of Alizé turboprop ASW aircraft. As a temporary measure the ships operated the Aquilon (Sea Venom) interceptor, but in 1963 forty-two F-8E Crusaders were purchased, and a flight of these was attached to each carrier after minor modifications in 1966. Helicopters, first American and then of French origin, were operated for plane-guard duties and later for ASW. The Étendard PV was replaced by the Super Étendard in the late 1970s, but the small size and light construction of the ships has made it difficult to find a suitable replacement for the Crusader.

    Foch had the distinction of being launched twice: once in July 1959 by Chantiers de l'Atlantique, who built the hull up to hangar deck level together with the propulsion machinery, and again in July 1960 by Arsenal de Brest, where the ship was fitted out. She was completed with bulges, which proved so successful that they were retro-fitted to Clemenceau during her 1966 refit.

Ship protection: Armour was provided for the flight deck (45mm) with an armoured box 30-50mm over the machinery and other vital parts.

Modernizations: 1966, Clemenceau: bulges were fitted, measures as Foch.

1978, Clemenceau; 1981, Foch: lifts capacity was increased to 20t; - SENIT-1 CCS; + SENIT-2 CCS

1986, Clemenceau: - 4 x 1 - 100/55, DRBV-20C, DRBV-50, NRBA-50 radars, 2 Syllex decoy launchers; + 2 x 8 Crotale Navale SAM (36 Crotale R440), DRBV-15, NRBA-51 radars, 2 Sagaie decoy launchers; displacement rose to 27307/32780t

1988, Foch: - 4 x 1 - 100/55, DRBV-20C, DRBV-50, NRBA-50 radars, SQS-503 sonar, 2 Syllex decoy launchers; + 2 x 8 Crotale Navale SAM (36 Crotale R440), DRBV-15, NRBA-51 radars, 2 Sagaie decoy launchers; displacement rose to 27307/32780t

1992, both: + 2 x 2 Simbad SAM (8 Mistral)

1997, both: - 4 x 1 - 100/55; + 2 x 6 Sadral SAM (24 Mistral), 2 x 1 - 30/82 OTOBreda-Mauser Model F

Naval service: No significant events.

Clemenceau 1980

Ivan Gogin, 2015