Europe's First Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier, French PANG, to House 30 FCAS Jets

The new generation aircraft carrier (French acronym-PANG) announced Tuesday by France’s President Emmanuel Macron, will be the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to be built in Western Europe.

Europe's First Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier, French PANG, to House 30 FCAS Jets
Charles De Gaulle

It will house nearly 30 new generations Future Combat Air System jets. The U.S. Navy’s Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier can carry over 75 aircraft while China’s Type 001A can carry around 30,Indian INS VIKRAMADITYA can carry upto 30 jets . Ford-class warships will replace Nimitz-class ships that can carry 60 aircraft in all.

“Charles de Gaulle, as you know, will come to the end of its life in 2038. This is why I have decided that the future aircraft carrier that will equip our country and our navy will be nuclear-powered like the Charles de Gaulle,” Macron said during his visit to French nuclear power company Framatome.

“Your plant in Le Creusot, which has been producing parts essential to our navy for a long time, will produce, among others, several major parts of the nuclear boiler of the future aircraft carrier by forging and machining them right here. … By these choices, we confirm France’s desire to preserve its strategic autonomy,” he added.

The retiring French carrier, Charles de Gaulle, expected to go out of service when the PANG enters the French Navy in 2038 is powered by gas turbine engines. The Royal Navy’s two modern carriers - Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, both are powered by a combination of gas turbine and marine diesel engines.

The French defense ministry said today that the new warship will have a length of 330m, a width of 80m, maximum speed of 27 knots (55kmph) and a displacement of 75,000 tons. The ship will be able to accommodate 2000 sailors and carry electromagnetic catapults. The first steel cut is set for 2025, while sea trials are slated to begin in 2036