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PA NG - next gen French Aircraft carrier program

GTX

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There is no way you can get a useable CATOBAR aircraft carrier under 40,000 tons.

Define "useable"
One that can carry a reasonable number of high-performance aircraft.

But again, I would have to ask "what is a reasonable number". For instance, I am sure that operators of the Centaur-class, Colossus class, Majestic class and Clemenceau-class aircraft carriers would have felt that their ships were useable and carried a reasonable number of aircraft in their time. Compared to other larger ships (especially US super carriers) they would have appeared small, unusable and not carrying a reasonable number of aircraft but it is all relative and different from the perspective of the operator. I am sure one could still develop a sub-40,000 tonne CATOBAR carrier today. Unless you put actual specs to something, just using subjective terms such as usable and/or reasonable is meaningless.
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

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There is no way you can get a useable CATOBAR aircraft carrier under 40,000 tons.

Define "useable"
One that can carry a reasonable number of high-performance aircraft.

But again, I would have to ask "what is a reasonable number". For instance, I am sure that operators of the Centaur-class, Colossus class, Majestic class and Clemenceau-class aircraft carriers would have felt that their ships were useable and carried a reasonable number of aircraft in their time. Compared to other larger ships (especially US super carriers) they would have appeared small, unusable and not carrying a reasonable number of aircraft but it is all relative and different from the perspective of the operator. I am sure one could still develop a sub-40,000 tonne CATOBAR carrier today. Unless you put actual specs to something, just using subjective terms such as usable and/or reasonable is meaningless.
Given that Britain spent much the post war period trying to design and build much larger replacements for the Ark Royal, Eagle and Victorious, let alone the Colossus, Majestic and Centaur classes, I don't think that they were viewed as usable ships. Towards the end of their lives they were certainly incable of operating high-performance aircraft and only remained in service due to the lack of any alternatives.

It is telling that, with the exception France, of nobody has built a sub-40,000 ton CATOBAR Carrier since the 1960s.

Any further comments on this are going to end up unnecessarily derailing this thread.
 

Archibald

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There is no way you can get a useable CATOBAR aircraft carrier under 40,000 tons.

Define "useable"
One that can carry a reasonable number of high-performance aircraft.

But again, I would have to ask "what is a reasonable number". For instance, I am sure that operators of the Centaur-class, Colossus class, Majestic class and Clemenceau-class aircraft carriers would have felt that their ships were useable and carried a reasonable number of aircraft in their time. Compared to other larger ships (especially US super carriers) they would have appeared small, unusable and not carrying a reasonable number of aircraft but it is all relative and different from the perspective of the operator. I am sure one could still develop a sub-40,000 tonne CATOBAR carrier today. Unless you put actual specs to something, just using subjective terms such as usable and/or reasonable is meaningless.
Given that Britain spent much the post war period trying to design and build much larger replacements for the Ark Royal, Eagle and Victorious, let alone the Colossus, Majestic and Centaur classes, I don't think that they were viewed as usable ships. Towards the end of their lives they were certainly incable of operating high-performance aircraft and only remained in service due to the lack of any alternatives.

It is telling that, with the exception France, of nobody has built a sub-40,000 ton CATOBAR Carrier since the 1960s.

Any further comments on this are going to end up unnecessarily derailing this thread.

It is telling nothing...

- british carriers were obsolete WWII relics
- it really did not helped them that naval aviation went from Wildcat to Crusader III in a mere 15 years
- CdG is 45000 tons
- when GB threw the towel in the 70's 80's 90's after CVA01 and before QE, only France has some CATOBAR carrier design capability in the
- our means are a lot less than the USN

What I mean (without agressivity)

The sample of large carriers / CATOBAR builders (France + USA + GB / China / USSR, on-off basis) is too small to make generalizations.
Since 1945, only USA and France have build CATOBAR carriers on a regular basis.
 
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Hood

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Are they planning a new reactor core or are they going to with using the current submarine reactors again?
It didn't quite work out last time, although I guess some improvements in power and steam generation might have been made since CdG adopted the former series of reactors.
 

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You’d be easy to find over time - your emissions, log train and complete inability to defend yourself would see you made irelevant very quickly.

The fact your aircraft were slow, subsonic, non-agile and completely dependent upon permissive airspace makes it even more pointless.

Hermes in 1942 is what you’d be.
F-35 have a higher cruise speed than most airplane outthere, are supersonic, outperform all but a few in term of agility and are operationally the most capable fighter jets in term of penetrating IADS defended airspace.
But F35 isnt what your tiny carrier will carry.

Your graphic was of UAVs. Which have none of the characteristics you just listed. Nor will they unless they equte to F35 sized/mass airframes with associtared ship requirements.

You spoke of 10-15k ships and already have more than doubled that to 30+.

A F35C will only operate off a large supercarrier, and F35B clearly also needs a large one for take off run and sortie rate. Hence CVF as it is and the Italian/Spanish ships being far bigger than their Harrier predecessors. They will still not for instance be able to launch a cruise missile armed F35 due to size.

You want vanity - the Italian/Spanish ships are that because they are not effective carriers. Nice to look at granted and ideal for LHD role, but not combat carriers. They will only ever operate under a land umbrella or that from US / UK / FR full carriers.
 

galgot

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Are they planning a new reactor core or are they going to with using the current submarine reactors again?
It didn't quite work out last time, although I guess some improvements in power and steam generation might have been made since CdG adopted the former series of reactors.

Problems on the CdeG were not with the reactor cores (two K15s). It was with the props, and with premature wear of the shaft line (not sure this is the correct term in English), transmission.
The K15 reactors worked fine, even if first designed for the Subs and not that powerful for a carrier. And again, the design was already done and paid for the subs, so there was a cost advantage for using that. If there was a problem specific to the K15, it wouldn't be used on all Fr SSBNs and Suffren class SNAs.
Sure you have long immobilization periods when changing the reactor core fuel, but that is the disadvantage of all nuclear powered ships.

No idea what they will use if doing a new nuclear carrier. Only two K15 reactors would obviously be too weak for 70000 tons, so maybe adding more. Or design a new more powerful one, but that would add a lot to the cost.
 
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TomcatViP

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Times have changed. There is more punch in a ship packing 8 F35B than an entire CDG class. Look at the nbr of support sorties needed for one strike in a peer to peer scenario.
 
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Jemiba

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... There is no need for you to be involved.

I'm sorry, but if there are reports (complaints) about your post, it obviously isn't regarded by all members, as " non-insulting ",
and so, sorry again, I have to be involved.
"To do something for vanity" isn't a compliment, though it certainly is correct, for more or less all nations. So, repeating it, isn't a
way to keep the discussion about a theme unemotional and productive, but could be regarded as trolling.
And we don't want that, do we ?
 

Archibald

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Times have changed. Their is more punch in a ship packing 8 F35B than an entire CDG class. Look at the nbr of support sorties needed for one strike in a peer to peer scenario.

Only 8 ? no way. CdG carries 32 to 40 Rafales, so that would be 4:1 or 5:1 ratio. F-35 wouldn't survive. Even less with a paltry of AAMs they carry - 2*AMRAAM and 2*AIM-9X.
You 8*F-35s would promptly fell from the sky, killed by a volley of 32*2 = 64 METEOR.
 

zen

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Hmmm
I want to apply moderate airpower at some coastal state far from agreed HNA options.....
In a permissive environment I'm less worried about integrated IADS with medium and long ranged SAM systems than I am about aging AAA and MANPADS....often crewed by semi-skilled personnel.
A moderate Carrier with even limited numbers of combat aircraft is certainly 'good enough' for this.
Is it thus useless?
Obviously not and El Presidente of nearby potential HNA has a tendency to change his mind...
 

Purpletrouble

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Times have changed. Their is more punch in a ship packing 8 F35B than an entire CDG class. Look at the nbr of support sorties needed for one strike in a peer to peer scenario.

Only 8 ? no way. CdG carries 32 to 40 Rafales, so that would be 4:1 or 5:1 ratio. F-35 wouldn't survive. Even less with a paltry of AAMs they carry - 2*AMRAAM and 2*AIM-9X.
You 8*F-35s would promptly fell from the sky, killed by a volley of 32*2 = 64 METEOR.

And those 8 F35Bs wont have a full fuel or weapon payload. They wont be landing with much unused air to ground ordnance.
Nor carrying out deep strike because they cant carry cruise missiles off such a small ship.

From 8 jets you’d get 2x 4-ships a day which is relevant because F35 is designed to fight as a 4-ship as all fast jets are intended to be deployed tactically. That isn’t sustainable for manpower reasons alone.

CDG with dozens of Rafales would be a far better choice although still only in the fight for a couple of weeks before needing some form of relief.
 

Purpletrouble

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Hmmm
I want to apply moderate airpower at some coastal state far from agreed HNA options.....
In a permissive environment I'm less worried about integrated IADS with medium and long ranged SAM systems than I am about aging AAA and MANPADS....often crewed by semi-skilled personnel.
A moderate Carrier with even limited numbers of combat aircraft is certainly 'good enough' for this.
Is it thus useless?
Obviously not and El Presidente of nearby potential HNA has a tendency to change his mind...
How often does that happen? Recent examples?

El Presidente’s these days tend to be armed with those very IADS.

The UKs last major conflict option (Syria c2015) was a non starter precisely because of such IADS even in a conflict racked state. The one before (Libya) only went ahead with US anti-IADS support and because ground forces (rebels) had already negated much of it.

Neither were far from host nation airbases.
 

EwenS

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By the way, I never realized it before... could the EMALS breakthrough result in shorter catapults and thus drive carrier size downwards again ?
I mean, not easy to fit 60 m, 75 m or 90 m steam catapults on a flattop: needs a pretty large hull. CdG struggled to fold a cut down nimitz catapult (90 m to 75 m) into a 43 000 tons hull instead of 90 000 tons+.
Can EMALS change that ?

Surely the length of the catapult is set by the aircraft rather than the ship.

Not necessarily. Look at the steam catapults fitted to the British carriers in the 1950s and 1960s.

Victorious - 2*145' BS4 both forward capable of launching 50,000lb at 97kts end speed
Hermes - 1*175' (port) + 1*151' (starboard) both forward capable of launching 50,000lb at 94kt end speed
Ark Royal (post 1970) & Eagle (post 1963) 1*151' BS5 forward 50,000lb at 91kt and 1*199' BS5 in the waist 50,000lb at 105kt end speed. These replaced 2 earlier cat models forward.

In all cases the catapult position & length were driven by the available space below.

A longer stroke gives smoother acceleration and less stress on the airframe. CVA-01 went to 250' BS5 in both positions that would have been capable of launching 55,00lb with an end speed of 115kt.
 
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TomS

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Hey folks, this isn't a fantasy battles site. Time to pull the conversation back to actual French aircraft carrier concepts.
 

Moose

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Are they planning a new reactor core or are they going to with using the current submarine reactors again?
It didn't quite work out last time, although I guess some improvements in power and steam generation might have been made since CdG adopted the former series of reactors.

Problems on the CdeG were not with the reactor cores (two K15s). It was with the props, and with premature wear of the shaft line (not sure this is the correct term in English), transmission.
The K15 reactors worked fine, even if first designed for the Subs and not that powerful for a carrier. And again, the design was already done and paid for the subs, so there was a cost advantage for using that. If there was a problem specific to the K15, it wouldn't used on all Fr SSBNs and Suffren class SNAs.
Sure you have long immobilization periods when changing the reactor core fuel, but that is the disadvantage of all nuclear powered ships.

No idea what they will use if doing a new nuclear carrier. Only two K15 reactors would obviously be too weak for 70000 tons, so maybe adding more. Or design a new more powerful one, but that would add a lot to the cost.
I'm still going off Xav's information, here, but the latest indications are that the MN would seek an enlarged and modernized K15, designated K22.
 

Archibald

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Maybe something derived from the Barracuda SNAs, which are just entering service. Would make some sense, it would maintain the submarine-carrier nuclear connection.
 

zen

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The size was dictated by the size of the dry docks available in France (btw, dunno how they would do for a bigger one).

The dry dock at Toulon can take Nimitz class carriers.
Yes....but....Politically and perhaps economically at the time not as simple to assume the use of. There's a whole world of politics lurking behind CdG's design.
 

galgot

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The size was dictated by the size of the dry docks available in France (btw, dunno how they would do for a bigger one).

The dry dock at Toulon can take Nimitz class carriers.
Yes....but....Politically and perhaps economically at the time not as simple to assume the use of. There's a whole world of politics lurking behind CdG's design.
Indeed, Mitterand ordered it to be build specifically at Brest. Dunno the exact reason. But could have been for internal politics, jobs... ect...
 

TomcatViP

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Well, those years were the strange days of Cohabitation, where the president was in the opposition and the governement came from the latest elected majority.
 

Archibald

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February 3, 1986. Cohabitation started merely weeks later (late march) so yes, bizarre political times to start a carrier program, for sure...

PANG really sounds stupid, as a name. Sounds like something exploding or falling, which is not very fortunate for a carrier... of course this is just an accronym that won't last.
Imagine, if France build two ships, and they are bad...

SHITTY SHITTY PANG PANG

(runs for cover)
 

galgot

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February 3, 1986. Cohabitation started merely weeks later (late march) so yes, bizarre political times to start a carrier program, for sure...

PANG really sounds stupid, as a name. Sounds like something exploding or falling, which is not very fortunate for a carrier... of course this is just an accronym that won't last.
Imagine, if France build two ships, and they are bad...

SHITTY SHITTY PANG PANG

(runs for cover)
Lol... vous cherchez du trouble Mr. Archie :D
 

Purpletrouble

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Hey folks, this isn't a fantasy battles site. Time to pull the conversation back to actual French aircraft carrier concepts.
Given up on the nonsensi small “F35” carriers then. Good. Everyone else did quite a while back.


A Franco-German carrier project seems likely given statements by the Germans in 2019 and earlier this year. All pre Covid so tbc. The EU could between it fund a super carrier fleet of 75k ships armed with whatever comes out of their future ac project. Existing Italian/Spanish ships would then be ideally suited to the amphibious/support role.

I’ve always suspected Blair/Brown supported CVF because it put the UK right at the centre of that future force, and frigates/destroyers/MCM could always come from the minor European nations hence their shredding. Ditto SSN & SSBN being strategic systems.
 

zen

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Hmmm
I want to apply moderate airpower at some coastal state far from agreed HNA options.....
In a permissive environment I'm less worried about integrated IADS with medium and long ranged SAM systems than I am about aging AAA and MANPADS....often crewed by semi-skilled personnel.
A moderate Carrier with even limited numbers of combat aircraft is certainly 'good enough' for this.
Is it thus useless?
Obviously not and El Presidente of nearby potential HNA has a tendency to change his mind...
How often does that happen? Recent examples?

El Presidente’s these days tend to be armed with those very IADS.

The UKs last major conflict option (Syria c2015) was a non starter precisely because of such IADS even in a conflict racked state. The one before (Libya) only went ahead with US anti-IADS support and because ground forces (rebels) had already negated much of it.

Neither were far from host nation airbases.
So speaking about a principle is not the same as a specific occurrence or occurrences.
And speaking about a principle in the view of what might or might not be the French perspective is not necessarily the same perspective as say the UK.

In this CdG did deliver quite useful amounts of airpower, much closer to Lybia than that delivered from France. Such proximity, resulting in faster reaction to events and circumstances.
 

Purpletrouble

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Hmmm
I want to apply moderate airpower at some coastal state far from agreed HNA options.....
In a permissive environment I'm less worried about integrated IADS with medium and long ranged SAM systems than I am about aging AAA and MANPADS....often crewed by semi-skilled personnel.
A moderate Carrier with even limited numbers of combat aircraft is certainly 'good enough' for this.
Is it thus useless?
Obviously not and El Presidente of nearby potential HNA has a tendency to change his mind...
How often does that happen? Recent examples?

El Presidente’s these days tend to be armed with those very IADS.

The UKs last major conflict option (Syria c2015) was a non starter precisely because of such IADS even in a conflict racked state. The one before (Libya) only went ahead with US anti-IADS support and because ground forces (rebels) had already negated much of it.

Neither were far from host nation airbases.
So speaking about a principle is not the same as a specific occurrence or occurrences.
And speaking about a principle in the view of what might or might not be the French perspective is not necessarily the same perspective as say the UK.

In this CdG did deliver quite useful amounts of airpower, much closer to Lybia than that delivered from France. Such proximity, resulting in faster reaction to events and circumstances.
So lots of principle/theory but nothing really of substance then?

CDG was in no way even close to decisive in that campaign. Untold billions for “quite useful” in one very minor conflict seems a poor choice.

The French, when it comes to paying the bill for a new one or more, will have to decide between what is essential (airpower) and what is merely “quite useful” aka luxury (sea based airpower) against an awfully long list of other essentials. This may be where vanity kicks in.
 

zen

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Hmmm
I want to apply moderate airpower at some coastal state far from agreed HNA options.....
In a permissive environment I'm less worried about integrated IADS with medium and long ranged SAM systems than I am about aging AAA and MANPADS....often crewed by semi-skilled personnel.
A moderate Carrier with even limited numbers of combat aircraft is certainly 'good enough' for this.
Is it thus useless?
Obviously not and El Presidente of nearby potential HNA has a tendency to change his mind...
How often does that happen? Recent examples?

El Presidente’s these days tend to be armed with those very IADS.

The UKs last major conflict option (Syria c2015) was a non starter precisely because of such IADS even in a conflict racked state. The one before (Libya) only went ahead with US anti-IADS support and because ground forces (rebels) had already negated much of it.

Neither were far from host nation airbases.
So speaking about a principle is not the same as a specific occurrence or occurrences.
And speaking about a principle in the view of what might or might not be the French perspective is not necessarily the same perspective as say the UK.

In this CdG did deliver quite useful amounts of airpower, much closer to Lybia than that delivered from France. Such proximity, resulting in faster reaction to events and circumstances.
So lots of principle/theory but nothing really of substance then?

CDG was in no way even close to decisive in that campaign. Untold billions for “quite useful” in one very minor conflict seems a poor choice.

The French, when it comes to paying the bill for a new one or more, will have to decide between what is essential (airpower) and what is merely “quite useful” aka luxury (sea based airpower) against an awfully long list of other essentials. This may be where vanity kicks in.

If the French deem a carrier of utility to their interests, that is their choice. It is their money and their democracy.

If you have a problem with their decisions, I'm sure you can register your views with them directly.
 

Purpletrouble

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So still nothing of substance then?

And what might taking my “problem” up directly with the French have to do with anything?

Play the ball and make an argument, don’t lazily try and distract from a lack of substance.
 

zen

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When one is asked to play ball, one expects that the one asking will in turn play ball.

A carrier wasn't the only means to cover all airpower needs in a specific instance and so somehow this invalidates the both the use of that carrier in not only that instance. But can be used to justify never having a carrier at all?

It is clear that the MN want a CV to succeed CdG at very least. If they are getting somewhere with the civilian government, it must be that their arguments are persuasive.
Perhaps you should ask them?
 

Archibald

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As I said earlier in this thread, the French Navy (and French armies as a whole) took a pragmatic, combined approach to firepower delivery.
They have the following options
-SCALP cruise missiles from Armee de l'air Rafale with MRTT or C-135 tankers
- SCALP cruise missiles from naval Rafales flying out of CdG
- SCALP from submarines ( first Barracuda is in test phase IOC 2022)
- SCALP from surface ships - FREM frigates
- Armee de terre Tigre choppers flying out of Navy Mistral amphibious ships.
Put together, these options allow the French Navy to have only one carrier. It is a "bonus" rather than an expensive liability.

Note that none of these alternatives existed in the days of Foch and Clemenceau.

Also the French Navy can lauch SCALP cruise missiles out of THREE different platforms
- CdG Rafales
- surface ships
- Barracuda submarines

This somewhat compensate the one-carrier fleet...
 

uk 75

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The Rafale.M and its likely successor need catapults..EMALS may or may not be an option.
France has experience of operating Europe's only nuclear fixed wing carrier.
Seems reasonable to build a replacement drawing on that experience.
A second ship was originally planned to accompany CdG. Richelieu (name mentioned somewhere) didnt make the cut. Budgets, end of Cold War, whatever.
All seems straightforward. Wish the Marine Nationale Bonne Chance and look forward to the glossy graphic novels (like Team Rafale) in due course.
 

Purpletrouble

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When one is asked to play ball, one expects that the one asking will in turn play ball.

A carrier wasn't the only means to cover all airpower needs in a specific instance and so somehow this invalidates the both the use of that carrier in not only that instance. But can be used to justify never having a carrier at all?

It is clear that the MN want a CV to succeed CdG at very least. If they are getting somewhere with the civilian government, it must be that their arguments are persuasive.
Perhaps you should ask them?
Again with the man. Can we please stick to arguments?

You gave that as justification for a “moderate” sized carrier in a debate about size/ac type and capability and my points on any threat being IADS these days with a sobrique from you about El Presidentes and coastal states. It is a very weak justification because the ship was not necessary and made a minor contribution that its airwing could have from land.

An even smaller ship would have been even less useful.

The real issue is that small carriers, with attendant low capable aircraft, are not able to have a useful effect. Hence CVF, Indian and Chinese carriers, and no doubt CDG’s successor(s).

The MN like the RN and USN will want and argue for all sorts of things. It does not follow that it is in the national interest or even the MN’s actual real world interests for that to arrive.

As I said, I suspect the Franco-German angle will be the background to any future ships.
 

zen

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When one is asked to play ball, one expects that the one asking will in turn play ball.

A carrier wasn't the only means to cover all airpower needs in a specific instance and so somehow this invalidates the both the use of that carrier in not only that instance. But can be used to justify never having a carrier at all?

It is clear that the MN want a CV to succeed CdG at very least. If they are getting somewhere with the civilian government, it must be that their arguments are persuasive.
Perhaps you should ask them?
Again with the man. Can we please stick to arguments?

You gave that as justification for a “moderate” sized carrier in a debate about size/ac type and capability and my points on any threat being IADS these days with a sobrique from you about El Presidentes and coastal states. It is a very weak justification because the ship was not necessary and made a minor contribution that its airwing could have from land.

An even smaller ship would have been even less useful.

The real issue is that small carriers, with attendant low capable aircraft, are not able to have a useful effect. Hence CVF, Indian and Chinese carriers, and no doubt CDG’s successor(s).

The MN like the RN and USN will want and argue for all sorts of things. It does not follow that it is in the national interest or even the MN’s actual real world interests for that to arrive.

As I said, I suspect the Franco-German angle will be the background to any future ships.
You want to argue that the MN doesn't need a carrier?

The general principle is that some airpower is better than none airpower and if a carrier can deliver that in the desired timescale, and landbased airpower cannot for whatever reason, thenrhe carrier has utility.

You are aware that HNA is not always available in the timescale desired or at the price considered acceptable?
You are surely aware that building sufficient facilities to support operations for a brief period of time is an excessive expense?
Is it value for money to build an airfield within reasonable range of possible areas of operations at every location where the French state might act?
 

Purpletrouble

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Ok, well at least we have an argument now and the insults have stopped.

Carrier airpower comes at enormous price. We all know that. The RN is paying that price in subs, escorts and soon probably more of the amphbious force.

Given there are already airfields all over the world for other purposes and air forces routinely deploy and operate globally (well we do) then that isn’t the real question.

The lesson of history is if you buy a carrier, buy a big one. If you don’t it is still hugely expensive but for very little effect. You also need multiple as CDGs availability proves. CDG has come at huge cost but has measurably been of only minor value.


On a personal note I doubt France has the resources to do that again and I believe it is unwise to. Just as I believe the UK was unwise to build 2 QE at the (predicted) cost it has led to.
 

Jemiba

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There are just two problems with this thread here:

- The tone is borderline ! And judging the fact, that there already were a handful of reports from different participants
in this discussion, nobody seems to feel comfortable with this. So why ?

- The other problem simply is point two of the forum rules. As a reminder " Political, religious and nationalistic posts are discouraged. "
And since about last weekend, the discussion has become political !

So, please, back to savoir-faire and thinking twice, if straying into politics really is necessary. It would be a pity, if this thread would be doomed,
as others before, I think.
 
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