Exercise between Charles de Gaulle and HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Groups

According to a tweet published by NATO on June 2, 2021, Charles de Gaulle and HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike groups are training together in the Mediterranean as part of bilateral exercise GALLIC STRIKE.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Charles de Gaulle and HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers during Gallic Strike (Picture source: Marine Nationale)

The first of this class, named Charles de Gaulle (also referred to as de Gaulle), was ordered in February 1986; construction was started in November 1987. The keel was laid in April 1989, and the ship was launched in May 1994.

De Gaulle is approximately 261 meters long and has a displacement of approximately 40,000 tons. It will accommodate 40 aircraft, including the new Rafale SU 0 class, the Super Etendard (to be replaced by the Rafale SU 2 in 2005), and E-2C Hawkeye early-warning aircraft, as well as several helicopters. There are two catapults, each capable of launching an aircraft every minute. Propulsion is provided by two nuclear reactors of the same design as those used for the new-generation SSBNs.

According to Global Security, there are two lifts, measuring 19 x 13 m, which have a load capacity of 36 tons. The hangar has a floor area of 140 x 30 meters and a height of 6.1 meters.

It accommodates 20 to 25 aircraft. The main deck consists of the main runway angled at 8.5 degrees to the ship's axis and an aircraft launch area forward of the island. The runway and the forward launch area are each equipped with a USN Type C13 catapult rated to handle aircraft up to 22 tonnes and capable of launching one aircraft per minute. The runway is 195 meters long and the whole deck measures 260 x 64 meters.

The ship's weapons are managed by a Senit Combat Management System, CMS Model 8. The system has the capacity to track up to 2,000 friendly and hostile targets. The weapon control system consists of two Sagem Vigy 105 optronic directors. The ship has two Sagem Vampir search and track systems. The ship is fitted with the Aster 15 surface-to-air missile launchers, Sylver vertical launch systems, installed on the edge of the deck, with two launchers (16 cells) on the starboard side forward of the bridge and two launchers on the port side aft of the bridge.

The ship has two six-cell Sadral launching systems for the Mistral missile positioned on the edges of the main deck about 45 meters (starboard side) and 36 meters (port side) aft of the Aster missile launchers. The ship is also equipped with eight Giat 20F2 guns and four decoy launchers are installed, two on either side of the ship firing chaff to 8 km and infra-red flares to a range of 3 km.

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