French Carrier

Robert Harley harley@argote.ch
Fri, 26 Apr 2002 13:33:09 +0200 (CEST)


Gordon Mohr wrote:
>Ah, the Charles de Gaulle, "quite well known" to be comparable to
>US Carriers...
>[...]
> # French 'calamity' carrier heads for sea - again
> # By Julian Coman in Paris
> # (Filed: 11/03/2001)

A British paper poking fun at the French Navy... surprise, surprise.

The journalist is clearly dredging the bottom of the barrel to come up
with such highly interesting slander as "Even the ship's name caused
trouble."  Chirac forced through a name change.  So what???

Apart from the choice of words intended to ridicule, what actual bits
are in there?

The project ran late.  Yes, big projects do tend to run late, and the
first carrier in a new class was never likely to be an exception
(a second one may or may not be built someday...)

The initial runway was judged not to have enough safety margin for the
Hawkeyes to take off and land in some particularly bad conditions
(such as landing misaligned and catching the last arresting cable in
unfavourable weather).

>From http://www.cncmagazine.com/archive01/v3i11/v3i11h.htm :

>The French highlighted several concerns they were having with the
>aircraft arresting gear on their new ship.  DiBiase, venerably titled
>"Mr. Catapult" by the French for his contributions and help in
>developing the de Gaulle, took a heightened interest.  Most of the
>problems encountered with the gear probably had been experienced in
>the past, and if any one person has this level of knowledge, it would
>be the Navy's Chief carrier engineer, George DiBiase.
>
>The island on the de Gaulle is forward of the location used on US Navy
>carriers.  Due to the shorter deck, the "runout" span of the arresting
>cable was changed from 345 feet for U.S. carriers to 320 feet for the
>de Gaulle.  Lakehurst engineers had performed worst case analysis that
>indicated an E-2 aircraft with an off-center, maximum run-out arrested
>landing would put the E-2 Hawkeye's nose wheel at or over the upwind
>end of the angle deck.  Although recognized to be safe, pilot
>apprehension of not seeing enough deck in front of him was an issue of
>great concern to the French.

Also of concern was the time lost if a Hawkeye was too near the end of
the runway to turn around and taxi away without being towed back
first.  So they lengthened the runway to 198 meters.  NB: the main
runway is at an angle, total deck length is 262 meters (versus 332 for
a Nimitz class).


> # After many months of repairs, the Charles de Gaulle was relaunched
> # last year [i.e., in 2000] on a cruise to Guadaloupe. Then the
> # propeller problems began.

After teething problems were ironed out, the ship was launched for
final tests and, embarassingly, a propeller broke due to a
manufacturing defect.  The propellers were replaced.  End of problem.

It entered service in April 2001.  It is currently participating in
operation Enduring Freedom in the Indian Ocean with anti-aircraft and
anti-submarine frigates, a nuclear attack submarine and an electronic
surveillance ship.


Some blurb:
  http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/gaulle/
  http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/ships/cdg.htm


Bye,
  Rob.
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