Δευτέρα, 12 Σεπτεμβρίου 2016

France’s Fleet Carrier War Ship Is Alone In Its Class


 War History Online
 
Charles De Gaulle. Source:
 


The US Navy has ten Nimitz-class supercarriers stationed around the world to protect air and sea lanes and to project America’s formidable airpower wherever needed. Generally, one of these carriers is in the Middle East all of the time
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As other countries join in to combat extremists around the globe, only one of them has the ability to send even a single big carrier to assist. That carrier is not part of the navies of China, Russia, or Great Britain.
The only other big carrier outside of the U.S. fleet is the Charles de Gaulle. It’s the flagship of the French Navy. They have sent it to help in the Middle East several times, and it has performed so well that the US Navy awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation in June. President François Hollande announced that it would be redeployed to the Middle East this fall.
The nuclear-powered vessel isn’t a supercarrier. It’s considered a medium-sized fleet carrier, making it smaller and lighter than a supercarrier and giving it less firepower. Still, it is larger than the small escort carriers employed by other nations’ navies. What’s more, the de Gaulle is essentially alone in this category.
The Russian navy has the Admiral Kuznetsov. It has a lot of mechanical problems and doesn’t leave port. China bought the Kuznetsov‘s sister ship but has yet to sail her. India has a Russian hand-me-down that never sails and Brazil has a 50-year-old French-built fleet carrier named the São Paulo, but it is being refitted.
Britain stopped building fleet carriers years ago due to the high cost, but the construction of two new Elizabeth class supercarriers marks a reversal of this policy. The first of these, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, is due to be commissioned in 2017, and its sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, will follow suit a few years later.
When these two ships enter service, the Royal Navy will become the next great carrier power after the USA, but until then it’s the time of the Charles de Gaulle to rule the seas.

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