A deputy from Brest revives the option of a second aircraft carrier – France
With only one aircraft carrier in operation, France must deprive itself of its naval aviation component for the duration of short and long-term interviews. For months, France no longer has its flagship and its projection force, including one of its nuclear components. The subject has been debated since the withdrawal of Foch and Clemenceau. But France had resigned itself to operating with a single aircraft carrier, faced with the dozen American units (twelve in sight) and the rise in power of China which announces the launch of a sixth aircraft carrier.
By deciding to build the replacement for Charles de Gaulle, France had clearly buried the idea of operating with two units. The five billion investment was already very heavy, added to the greedy program of nuclear deterrence.
Threats have intensified
But the war in Ukraine, in the first place, like the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean have completely reshuffled the cards. “Six months ago, the subject was frozen,” summarizes Jean-Charles Larsonneur, Horizons deputy for Brest. Supported by the Toulon deputy Yannick Chenevard (Renaissance), the amendment proposed Thursday, May 25 received the support of 60 parliamentarians against a single dissenting voice from an environmentalist deputy. “Six months ago, it was not acted at all. But we had a lot of exchanges at the highest level. »
“Half the price for the second one”
This does not mean that France is going to embark on the construction of a second aircraft carrier but that it is studying the possibility of doing so. The objective is to assess its cost. “It would be a sister-ship which, according to our information, would cost half as much as the first, taking advantage of the many economies of scale” summarizes Jean-Charles Larsonneur. Design offices, first-time construction experience, double purchase of materials, etc.
Until 2028 to decide
But the needs and the final invoice will not be limited to this second construction. To have a fully operational carrier battle group and a fortiori two aircraft carriers, you need a lot of planes, the frigates and the submarines that accompany it to ensure its protection as well as the training of the sailors that goes with it… “This is also part of the study commissioned from the DGA”, specifies Jean-Charles Larsonneur who mentions the deadline of 2028 to decide. “It will most likely be for the next term to decide on the construction of this second aircraft carrier. After 2028, manufacturers believe that it will be too late. »
The replacement for the Charles de Gaulle is scheduled for 2035. Its sister ship could arrive in 2040. With an extension of the Charles de Gaulle to ensure operational permanence by 2040?
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