The French Minister of Defense, Michele Alliot-Marie, announced the green light
for the design phase of French Navy's second aircraft carrier, also known as
PA2. This phase will focus on ship's concept definition paving the way for
production works to begin in 2006.
The PA2 has been scheduled to join the French fleet by 2014 complementing
Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier currently in active duty.
This decision also marks the end of the preparatory study phase which has been
conducted by Thales and DCN companies and the French Ministry of Defense (MoD).
The preparatory study was aimed to provide risk reduction for the project as
well as assessment on the suitability of a conventional propulsion for the PA2.
DGA, French Defense Procurement Agency, will now assign a 100 million Euro
(approx $130 million) contract to an industry team led by Thales Naval France
(35%) and DCN (65%) to conduct the design phase. Alstom-Chantiers de
l'Atlantique and EADS will be also involved in the project.
Under the design phase, it will be established the opportunities of cooperation
between the French and British aircraft carrier programs before the end of
summer. The conventional propulsion selection for the PA2 was deemed to be an
important step from the French government backing the European Defense policy
due to added interoperability with Royal Navy's conventional-powered aircraft
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