Support the project with paypal

CHARLES DE GAULLE nuclear powered aircraft carrier (2001)


Charles de Gaulle 2006


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Charles de Gaulle (ex-Richelieu) R91   DCN, Brest 14.4.1989 7.5.1994 18.5.2001 in service (2019)

Technical data

Displacement standard, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m

238.0 pp 261.5 oa

Breadth, m

31.5 wl 64.4 fd

Draught, m

9.50 mean 10.5 max

No of shafts



2 sets 61SW geared steam turbines, 2 K15 nuclear reactors

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t


Endurance, nm(kts)practically unlimited

2 x 16 SAAM SAM (VLS, 32 Aster-15), 2 x 6 Sadral SAM (12 Mistral), 4 x 1 - 12.7/90, 40 aircraft (Rafale-M, Super Étendard fighters, E-2C Hawkeye AEW planes, Super Frelon, Dauphin helicopters)

Electronic equipment

2x DRBN-34 (Scanter 6001), DRBJ-11B (SMART-S Mk II), DRBV-26D, DRBV-15C, Arabel radars, DIBV-2A Artemis e/o IR detector, 2x DIBC-2A (EOMS NG) e/o directors, ARBR-21, 2x ARBB-33, ARBG-2 MAIGRET ECM suites, 4x Sagaie decoy RL, SLAT torpedo decoy, SENIT-8/05 CCS



Air group

Year Fighters fighters-bombers AEW planes Helicopters
2001 4 Rafale-M 29 Super Étendard 2 E-2C 2 Super Frelon, 2 Dauphin
2010 36 Rafale-M --- 3 E-2C 2 NH-90, 3 Dauphin

Standard scale images

<i>Charles de Gaulle </i>2005
Charles de Gaulle 2005


<i>Charles de Gaulle </i>2006
Charles de Gaulle 2006
<i>Charles de Gaulle </i>2006
Charles de Gaulle 2006

Aircraft facilities

 (fd - 12,000m², ha - 4,002m² / 24,412m³): Flight deck: 261.5.0x64.4m. Hangar: 128.0x29.0x6.1m. There are 2 deck-edge elevators (21.0x12.0m, 36t). There are two C-13-3 catapults. Aircraft fuel stowage: 3,600m³ of aviation fuel with provision for up to 5,000m³.

Project history

Ordered in 1986. Work began in November 1987, and the ship was to have been launched 1.5.1992; in June 1989 it was announced that the original 1996 date of operation would be delayed two years, and significant further delays continued. The hull was briefly afloat 20.12.1992 to reposition it within the graving dock for the addition of the angled deck. Was christened 7.5.1994 but not floated out until 14.5.1994. Sea trials were to commence 1.7.1998 but were delayed to 27.1.1999 by problems with the propulsion system and had to be halted because of an electrical generation capacity problem; sea trials recommenced 18.3.1999.

Post-shakedown yard period starting in fall 1999 was provided for extending the angled deck, improving reactor safety, replacing corroded piping, curing rudder vibration, and improving power supply to the reactor water cooling circulation pumps; the work was extended, however, delaying commissioning. Postrepair trials began 19.5.2000. Other changes made were the removal of the yardarms and the provision of a crew gangway position low at the stern. During pre-commissioning cruise to the West Indies in November 2000 ship lost a propeller blade and had to return to Toulon for repairs, which were not completed until October 2001. Planned construction of a second unit was canceled in 2004 in favor of a conventionally powered alternative. SATRAP (Systeme Automatique de TRAnquillisation et de Pilotage} system controls seakeeping behavior to permit air operations in sea states up to 5 or 6; it incorporates two groups of 12 lead stabilization weights totaling 500 tons that are moved athwartships on rails to reduce roll to 0.5°. Four pairs of fin stabilizers and a rudder roll stabilization system are also installed. The low-mounted hull sponsons are designed to provide additional righting moment when they are immersed at approximately 7° roll. Pressurized and filtered air is employed by the NBC-protection citadel. Special attention has gone to reducing the ship's signature by shaping the hull and island to reduce the radar return, sound-isolating engineering systems, and installing a comprehensive degaussing system. In addition to being able to embark up to 800 troops, the ship can accept a modular hospital installation with 50 beds and two operating rooms. The reactors, which are identical to those in the ballistic-missile submarines of the Le Triomphant class, also supply steam for the propulsion and the catapults and are contained within protective structures. The ship, however, lacks adequate propulsion power for aviation activities and was restricted to 25kts after January 2001 due to temporary use of mismatched spare propellers from Clemenceau and Foch until six new, tailored units were fabricated. The temporary port propeller caused vibration problems, and the temporary screws limited maximum speed to only 25.2 kts, but new propellers were installed in 2007-2008.

The flight deck is 261.5 m long, with a 195-m, 8.3° angled-deck portion. The angled deck was belatedly found to be 4.4 m too short for safe operation of the E-2C aircraft in all weather and was extended during 1999. Maximum flight deck width is 64.36 m. There are two 75m U.S. Type C13-3 steam catapults, each capable of launching aircraft weighing up to 25t, with one on the angled deck and the other on the port side of the bow, an arrangement that emphasizes deck parking arrangements over ability to launch and land simultaneously. Three arrestor wires are fitted. The nuclear propulsion arrangement requires the island to be mounted much farther forward than is standard practice, ahead of both elevators. The hangar is lower than on the since retired Clemenceau class, but considerably larger in area and better protected; it can accommodate 23 fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters at one time. The munitions magazines can accommodate 2,100 tons. The ship has the Matra Defense DALAS (Dispositif díaide à I'Appontage au LASer) deck approach and landing laser system.

The SENIT8 combat data and control system is able to track 100 targets and attack 10 simultaneously through the ARABEL radar. Planned eight single 20-mm guns were not installed and have been replaced, at least temporarily, by four 12.7-mm machineguns.



Naval service

No significant events.