Re­vamped air­craft car­rier pre­pares for de­ploy­ment

Otago Daily Times - - WORLD -

ABOARD CHARLES DE GAULLE: Dressed in a khaki uni­form and hel­met, a pi­lot jumps into a Rafale fighter jet un­der the watch­ful gaze of France’s armed forces min­is­ter, Florence Parly, as the deck of Charles de Gaulle pre­pares for its first ac­tiv­ity in 18 months.

Europe’s only nu­clear­pow­ered air­craft car­rier, the 260m ves­sel, which car­ries 1700 per­son­nel and whose ton­nage is equal to four Eif­fel Tow­ers, will be de­ployed in Fe­bru­ary in the In­dian Ocean.

Its midlife up­grade, cost­ing ¤1.3 bil­lion ($NZ2.2 bil­lion), largely fo­cused on mod­ernising fa­cil­i­ties for land­ing and guid­ing air­craft.

Faced with the ‘‘pro­found change in the naval strate­gic panorama’’, in­clud­ing the ex­pan­sion­ist aims of Bei­jing in the South China Sea, France con­sid­ers the air­craft car­rier of in­com­pa­ra­ble ‘‘tac­ti­cal and po­lit­i­cal value’’, Ad­mi­ral Christophe Prazuck, chief of staff of the French navy, said. — Reuters


Air­craft car­rier Charles de Gaulle.

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