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French Aircraft Carrier Started Sea Trials Following Mid-Life Refit

The French Navy (Marine Nationale) nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle started its first set of sea trials September 14, 2018 following its mid-life refit. The vessel entered a dry dock at Toulon naval base on February 8, 2017 and was re-floated in May this year.


The French Navy (Marine Nationale) nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle started its first set of sea trials September 14, 2018 following its mid-life refit. The vessel entered a dry dock at Toulon naval base on February 8, 2017 and was re-floated in May this year.


French Aircraft Carrier Started Sea Trials Following Mid Life Refit Charles de Gaulle started its first set of sea trials September 14, 2018 following its mid life refit. Picture via @ConflictsW


With this repair and modernization works, the flag ship of the French Navy will be operational again for the next 20 years.

During this mid-life refit, the combat management system, air wing facilities (with a transition to a "100% Rafale" fighter air wing), ship management systems and more have been overhauled or modernized. The two K15 nuclear reactors have been refueled as well. For more detail, check out our article and video focusing on Charles de Gaulle mid-life refit at this link.

Provided the sea trials go according to plan, the aircraft carrier crew and air-wing will start a campaign of intensive training in fall in order to be fully operational by the end of the year. The first post-refit deployment should take place in early 2019.

The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle was built in the arsenal of DCN (DCNS) in Brest and joined the French Navy on May 18, 2001. The first intermediate overhaul of the ship took place from July 2007 to December 2008. More than 41 thousand aircraft have been launched (via catapult) by the Charles de Gaulle to date.

Charles de Gaulle mid-life refit key figures (provided by Naval Group):
- Over 4 million hours of work including 2.5 million for the construction site and 1.8 million engineering design;
- 2.5 million hours of work including 1 million for the Toulon site, 500,000 hours for other Naval Group sites and 1 million for subcontractors;
- More than 2,000 people work daily on the site: 1,000 contractors (Naval Group and subcontractors) and 1,100 crew members;
- 160 subcontractors;
- 200,000 tasks;
- 2,000 tests and trials;
- 1.3 billion euros;
- 1 tank of 14 m height, 275 m length and 46 m width
- 177 000m³ of water, about 47 Olympic swimming pools.