MONS speaks to Naval Group about the main changes to French Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier during its second main refit period
On 8 February 2017, Naval Group began working on the second main refit period of France’s only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gualle. This refit period was scheduled to last 18 months in order to upgrade some of the main systems of this ship that, since its commissioning in 2000, has already navigated the equivalent of 30 trips around the globe and launched 41,000 aircraft. Amongst the main refits are the combat management system and the aviation systems.
The combat management system is being renovated with the modernisation of the Senit 8 tactical system, which manages sensors and weapons, the installation of 200 km of new fibre optic cables onboard the ship, the upgrading of the telecommunication systems, the fitting of the new 3D Thales SMART S radar to replace the J11 as well as the new Terma SCANTER 6002 navigation system to replace the N34, the upgrading of the infrared search and track system with the 360° panoramic Artémis from Thales as well as the fitting of Safran’s EOMS NG surveillance and fire control system.
The aviation systems are also being upgraded. This includes the modification of the engine test bench in order to accommodate the Super Etendard Modernisé, the renovation of the stock room for ammunitions, and the renovation of all systems and infrastructure pertaining to landing on the aircraft carrier (officer platform, Improved Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System, etc). With these upgrades, the Charles de Gaulle will be able to accommodate 40 Rafale Marine and one Caïman Marine helicopter, whereas in its last mission on the Mediterranean it accommodated 24 Rafale, two Hawkeye and one NH-90 helicopter.
The refit period should end in Autumn 2018, when the aircraft carrier will begin sea trials. “At the same time, the pilots will start training for the new system on the platform,” Naval Group added.