Of course, such a key exchange will not take place overnight and, according to the French president, the whole process will be completed by 2038. The announcement itself was also not accidental and took place in very specific circumstances, when President Macron visited the French nuclear company, Framatome, in Le Creusot. In his opinion, this is a decision confirming the French willingness to maintain its strategic autonomy, because it should be noted that the current flagship aircraft carrier of the French navy, i.e. the famous Charles de Gaulle, also has a nuclear propulsion.
It was the first French nuclear surface ship and the 10th aircraft carrier in the history of this army, and what is more, it is the only non-American aircraft carrier equipped with catapults for taking off fixed-wing aircraft. The construction of the ship began planetwatching July 14, 1989, but the constantly increasing costs resulted in the suspension of work on the carrier in 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1995. Ultimately, the ship entered service on May 18, 2001, and in 2018 a decision was made to replace it with a new one.
According to the French Ministry of Armed Forces, this decision is dictated by practical reasons, because the newer nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will not require refueling during its operation, except for airplanes and can operate for 10 years without refueling. The aircraft carrier does not have a name yet, but we know that it will be built at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard with the Naval Group as the main contractor. When construction is completed, the carrier will have a displacement of 75,000 tons, a length of 300 meters and a speed of 50 km / h. It will carry 2,000 crew members, 30 next-generation SCAF fighters and electromagnetic catapults to take off a wide range of aircraft, including bomber fighters and drones, and will be powered by two 220 MW reactors. Design-wise, the time will come in 2025, when aircraft carrier construction begins and the first sea trials are scheduled for 2036.