French President Francois Hollande announced his decision this week at the inauguration of the country’s new defence ministry building in Paris. He did not maker clear when the carrier will leave the port of Toulon.

The Charles de Gaulle had previously been deployed in the Persian Gulf from February to April this year, conducting between 15 and 20 flights per day, according to the French military.

Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy and was formerly the largest western European warship, a position now taken by the British carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. She is the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel,and the first and so far only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside of the United States Navy.

The ship carries a complement of Rafale’s, E‑2C Hawkeye, EC725 Caracal and AS532 Cougar helicopters.

Charles de Gaulle entered sea trials in 1999. These identified the need to extend the flight deck to safely operate the E-2C Hawkeye. This operation sparked negative publicity, however, much of the ships reputation for being unreliable that would later develop has also now dismissed.

Since beginning operations in Iraq, French fighter jets have carried out 1,285 aerial missions, resulting in 271 strikes and the destruction of 459 targets.

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Chris Harding

Well when its considerably cheaper to use a carrier in international waters as apposed to essentially renting a Air Base in a neighboring country cant say I blame them…

we used to be able to do it once…

Lee Hodgson

And we will again in the very near future.

Chris Harding

if we’d not jumped on the F-35 bandwagon we’d probably have had combat ready carriers 3 years sooner than planned

UK Defence Journal

How would that work? The vessels won’t be ready until 2017/18…


I am not sure that running a carrier is cheaper than renting a runway, running a carrier is insanely expensive.


We have kept aircraft on station 24/7 from our sovereign territory in Cyprus, You can’t do this with only one carrier. Land based and seaborne airpower is complimentary not mutually exclusive