Naval Group displayed the latest model of the French Future Aircraft carrier

Boeing F-15EX
Boeing F-15EX

At Euronaval 2022, Naval Group displayed the latest model of the French Future Aircraft carrier (Porte-Avion Nouvelle Generation – PANG). Actually built to fit the specifications of the PANG – which the previous model did not – the main modifications have been made on the tower.

Following the pre-Euronaval press trip in September, Armada reported on the latest news about the French PANG. While nothing has changed in terms of displacement (75,000t) and overall length (310m), the new model shown at Euronaval does feature a couple of important changes.

First, the tower shape has been changed to be more square and the mast, although still featuring Thales’ SeaFire radar, now features an array of domes for satellite communications.

Second, the flight deck has been enlarged to leave room for three Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch Systems (EMALS). Currently only two have been planned but the option is open for a third one. When asked whether the final decision of two or three EMALS would alter – again – the flight deck design, Laurent Coudray, PANG programme manager, told Armada International: “The design of the flight deck is mostly set now, but if only two EMALS rather than three are installed we will use our software simulating different scenarios for jets queueing to take-off to reorganise them and optimise as needed.”

Coudray also added that the flight deck has been organised so that jets could launch and land on the deck of the PANG simultaneously. “The design organisation also ensures that jets can still launch from the ship while others can remain parked,” Coudray told Armada International. Effectively, the flight deck has been organised so that its organisation is easily reconfigured according to each mission – e.g. whether many jets will take off or not.

When asked whether the weapon systems currently showing on the PANG model are those that will feature on the actual ship – e.g. RapidFire CIWS and VLS for Aster missiles – Coudray said that these are not fixed: “We are still in the preliminary design phase, with development and production to start in 2026 and acceptance scheduled for 2036, so threats and technologies can continue to evolve until then.”

by Dr. Alix Valenti (International Defence & Security Expert)