France starts study phase for new aircraft carrier

The French defense ministry will launch a study phase to look into the replacement of the French Navy’s sole aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle, defense minister Florence Parly announced October 23 at the Euronaval conference.

French Navy photo of FS Charles de Gaulle

The minister said the study phase would span 18 months during which the navy and the defense ministry will identify what they will want to have in a new aircraft carrier.

FS Charles de Gaulle, the current aircraft carrier in service with the navy, has just completed a mid-life refit and will be ready to return to operations in early 2019. It is expected to remain in service beyond 2030.

Florence Parly also indicated that, depending on the outcome of the study phase, building more than one successor carrier was not excluded.

The successor aircraft carrier will be expected to remain operational beyond 2080.