French Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Charles de” style=”padding: 10px” width=”301″ />

The French Navy has awarded a fleet support service (SSF) contract to DCNS to provide through-life support services for its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) over the next four years to ensure operational availability of the vessel.

Under the €221m contract, awarded as part of the navy’s availability-based procurement policy, DCNS will provide comprehensive through-life support services in addition to three layups.

Under the contract, the company will also ensure high levels of safety and security, as well as strong technical support, in addition to availability of specific shipboard systems.

Launched in May 1994 and commissioned in September 2000, Charles De Gaulle has been designed to operate a fleet of up to 40 aircraft, which include Dassault Rafale M with a range 3,340km, and Dassault-Breguet Super Etendard carrier-borne strike fighter aircraft.

The 38,000t Charles de Gaulle frigate has a beam of 64.36m and can cruise at speeds of 27k. It is capable of carrying three Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft, and a Eurocopter AS 565 Panther or NH90 helicopter.

Armed with a surface anti-air missile system and eight Nexter 20F2 20mm guns, the ship is integrated with four eight-cell Sylver vertical launch systems and weapon control system, including two Vigy 105 optronic and Sagem Vampir search-and-track systems.

The 261.5m-long carrier vessel features a suite of radar sensors, in Thales DRBJ 11B 3D long-range air search radar, the DRBV 26D Jupiter medium/long-range air search radar and DRBV 15C Sea Tiger mk2 air and surface search radar.

Image: French Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle can operate a fleet of up to 40 aircraft. Photo: courtesy of DCNS.