According to DSI magazine, a contract would have been signed with the french authorities for the primilary study of a conventional powered (gas turbine) aircraft carrier.
The ship specifications would be similar to the british CVF design but with only one tower :
- Length : 285m
- Weight : 62000 metric tons
- Maximum Speed : 26 knt
- Range : 8000 nm
- power plant : 1 gas turbine and 2 diesel motors (3 shafts) + 2 steam plant for the 2 catapults
- Airgroup : 32 Rafale M
Although this is quite an unexpected good news for the french Navy, It is worth remembering that DCNS already worked on a PA2 design 5 years ago for nothing as the project was postponed until 2012 by president Sarkozy at the start of it mandat in 2007.
The size of this ship is much bigger than the current Charles de Gaulle class (261m for 45,000 tons). Indeed, the CdG is often criticized for its lack of space to operate a full Rafale and E-2C fleet with maximum efficiency.
An other interesting point is that the design proposed by DCNS is not nuclear whereas there had been a strong lobby by many navy officers in favor of a nuclear PA2 when the cooperation with the british on the CVF (Queen Mary class) was canceled.
Picture : DCNS PA2 design presented at Euronaval 2005