During a visit to Naval Group’s Lorient shipyard in March, French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly witnessed the creation of a joint venture regarding the PANG program and announced the acceleration of the FDI frigate program.
PANG aircraft carrier
On March 19, 2021, the French defense procurement agency (DGA) awarded the preliminary design contract for France’s next-generation aircraft carrier (PANG) to Naval Group, Chantiers de l’Atlantique and TechnicAtome. This preliminary design stage, which will last two years, will consolidate the assumptions and technical data from the preliminary study phase.
French naval shipbuilder Naval Group and the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard have decided to create a joint company dedicated to the PANG (Aircraft Carrier New Generation) program, the project management of which is ensured by DGA, the French Defence Procurement Agency, and CEA, the French Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission. Within the framework of this common company, the responsibilities and interfaces between the two companies are perfectly defined, thus helping the two partners to make the best use of the complementarity of their skills. The relations with Technicatome, which has the status of a cocontractor, are being finalized for the design, fabrication and integration.
Preliminary studies of the PANG, which began two years ago, were used to compare different possible architectures of the vessel, to outline its dimensions and the size of the airwing. In concrete terms, its main characteristics will be as follows: it will have a mass of 75,000 tons, for a length of about 300 meters, and will be able to reach a speed of 27 knots, or nearly 50 km/h. To launch and recover its aircraft, it will be equipped with electromagnetic catapults and new generation arresting gear. It will be able to carry about thirty new generation combat aircraft. Its crew will consist of about 2,000 sailors, including those of the air group. Nuclear propulsion will promote endurance, availability and the perpetuation of skills, both for the French Navy and for the French industry.
The acceleration of the FDI program will support the activity of the Naval Group site in Lorient where the frigates are designed and built, also ensuring the preservation of skills. The two frigates – the second and third in a series of five – will both be delivered in 2025, whereas the original plan was to deliver them every 18 months. The first FDI, for which construction work began in 2020, is scheduled for delivery in 2024.
With a tonnage of more than 4,200 tonnes and a length of 121 metres, the FDI frigates are based on a digital and scalable architecture built around our SETIS 3.0 combat management system.
They can conduct all the missions of modern navies (anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine warfare or special forces projection) and address new threats such as cyber attacks and asymmetric threats.
The FDI also benefits from the latest technologies available on the naval defence market, including the Thales SeaFire multi-function radar with active antenna and fixed panels as well as a fully digital electronic warfare system.