Friday, November 11, 2011

Deadly French Charles de Gaulle Class Aircraft Carrier

Army and Weapons | Deadly French Charles de Gaulle Class Aircraft Carrier | Charles de Gaulle (R91) is the flagship of the French Navy (Marine Nationale) and the largest Western European carrier. She is the tenth French aircraft carrier, the first French nuclear-powered surface, and the first and so far only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside the United States Navy. She is named after the French statesman and general Charles de Gaulle.

The ship carries a complement of Dassault Breguet Super Etendard-, Dassault Rafale M and E-2C Hawkeye aircraft, and modern electronics and Aster missiles. She is a carrier-type CATOBAR that a shorter version of the catapult system installed on the U.S. Nimitz class carriers, the 75 m C13-3 steam catapult used.

The carrier replaced Foch, a conventionally powered aircraft carrier in 2001. Clemenceau and Foch were completed in 1961 and 1963 respectively, the requirement for a replacement was identified in the mid-1970s.
The hull was laid in April 1989 at the Brest naval shipyard DCNS. The airline was completed in May 1994 and 35 500 tons was the largest warship launched in Western Europe since 1951.  She was called Richelieu in 1986 by the French president at the time, François Mitterrand, after the famous French politician Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal and Duc de Richelieu (a traditional name for the capital ships in the French Navy, see battleship Richelieu for example). On February 7, 1987, however, after a fierce row, was the name of the ship changed to Charles de Gaulle by the Gaullist Prime Minister at the time, Jacques Chirac.
Construction quickly fell behind schedule when the project was starved of funding by the economic downturn worsened in the early 1990s.  The total cost for the vessel would top € 3 billion. Work on the ship was completely suspended four times: 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1995. The ship was commissioned on May 18, 2001, five years after the projected deadline.

In 1993 it was claimed by The Guardian that a group of engineers inspecting the ship during its construction, the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) agents, believed to be the method of evaluation of the shielding of nuclear reactors, including technical details. However, the newspaper published a denial of both the British Government and the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST) (in English: Directorate of Territorial Surveillance) that there was an incident.
Charles de Gaulle entered sea trials in 1999. This highlighted the need to expand the cockpit to safely operate the E-2C Hawkeye. This operation led to negative publicity, however, if the same tests were performed on both Foch and Clemenceau when the F-8E (FN) Crusader fighter had been introduced. The five million francs for the expansion was 0.025% of the total budget for Charles de Gaulle project.
On February 28, 2000, a test nuclear reactor led to the combustion of additional isolation elements, producing a smoke incident.

On the night of November 9, 2000, in the western Atlantic Ocean while en route to Norfolk, Virginia, the port propeller broke and the ship had to return to Toulon to replace the defective unit. The studies that followed showed similar structural faults in the other screw and in the reserve propellers: bubbles in the one-piece copper-alloy propellers near the center. The fault was the fault of the supplier, Atlantic Industries, which has gone bankrupt. To make matters worse, had all the documents relating to the design and manufacture of the screws were lost in a fire. As a temporary solution, the less advanced spare propellers of Clemenceau and Foch is used, limiting the maximum speed to 24 knots (44 km / h) instead of the contractual 27 knots (50 km / h).

On March 5, 2001, Charles de Gaulle returned to sea with two screws and older 25.2 knots (47 km / h) sailed on her studies. Between July and October, Charles de Gaulle had to be rebuilt once more due to abnormal noises, as loud as 100 dB, near the starboard propeller, which had made the rear of the ship uninhabitable.

On November 8, 2001, a sailor performing a routine maintenance task lost consciousness due to a toxic gas leak. A petty officer tried to rescue him and also collapsed. They were rescued by the onboard medical team and to Toulon Hospital. Both survived.

General characteristics: 

Class and type: Unique aircraft carrier 
Displacement: 37,085 tons (standard)42,000 tons (full load)
Length: 261.5 m (858 ft) total 
Width: 64.36 m (211.2 ft) total 
Draught: 9.43 m (30.9 ft) 
Drive: 2 x K15 pressurized water reactors (PWR), 150 MW each4 × diesel-electric2 × shaftsSpeed: 27 knots (50 km / h) 
Range: unlimited distance; 20 years 
Endurance: 45 days of food 
Capacity: 800 commands, 500 tons of ammunition 
Complement: Ship's Company: 1350 
Air Wing: 600 
Sensors andsystems: three-dimensional 11 B DRBJ air search radar 
DRBV 26D air search radar 
DRBV 15C at low altitude air search radar 
Arabel target acquisition radar 
Electronic warfareand decoys: ARBRE 21 Detector 
ARBB 33 Countermeasures suite 
ARBG2 Maigret Interceptor4 × Sagaie decoys launcher 
SLAT (Systeme de lutte anti-torpille) torpedo countermeasures 
Armament: 4 × 8 cell Sylver launchers carrying the MBDA Aster 15 surface to air missile.2 × 6 cell launchers carrying Sadral Mistral short-range missiles8 × 20 mm Giat 20F2 guns. 
Aircraft carried: 28 to 40 aircraft, including
 * Rafale M
 * Super Etendard 
* E-2C Hawkeye 
* SA365 Dauphin helicopters