Clemenceau class aircraft carrier2

The forward of the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau.

Clemenceau class aircraft carrier

The French aircraft carrier Clemenceau after her modernzation in the 1990s.

Class overview
Builders: DCN
Shipyard: Arsenal de Brest
Operators: Marine Nationale
Preceded by: Verdun class aircraft carrier
Succeeded by: Charles de Gaulle class aircraft carrier
In commission: 22 November 1961-Present
Planned: 4
Completed: 4
Active: 4
Cancelled: 0
Retired: 0
Scrapped: 0
General characteristics

24,200 tonnes (23,200 long tons) standard (Post-World War II)

32,800 tonnes (31,800 long tons) full load (Post-World War II)

53,000 tonnes (52,000 long tons) standard (after 1990 modernisation)

58,500 tonnes (57,500 long tons) full load (after 1990 modernisation)


265 m (869 ft) (Post-World War II)

290 m (951 ft) (after 1990 modernisation)

Beam: 31.7 m (104 ft)
Draught: 8.6 m (28 ft)
Propulsion: 6 x Indret boilers
4 x steam turbines
126,000 shp
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Range: 7,500 miles
Armament: 8 × 100 mm turrets (originally) ; in the 1990s, 4 were replaced by 2 SACP Crotale EDIR systems, with 52 missiles; 5 × 12.7 mm machine guns
Aircraft carried:

40 (Post-World War II)

56 (after 1990 modernisation)


16 Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard

16 Dassault Étendard IVP

8 F-8E(FN) Crusader

8 Breguet Alizé

4 Dauphin Pedro

4 Super Frelon

Aviation facilities: Angled flight deck for CATOBAR operations

The Clemenceau class aircraft carrier are a pair of aircraft carriers in the French Navy from 1961 to the Present-Day. Clemenceau was France's first successful aircraft carrier design after World War II and is together with the Charles De Gaulle class aircraft carrier and Future French aircraft carrier class supercarriers the backbone of the French Fleet. Four carriers were ordered and completed for the French Navy.


By the early 1950s, the French Navy had in service a number of aircraft carriers, the most modern of which was the French aircraft carrier Arromanches (R95). However, all of them were small and increasingly incapable of operating modern aircraft, which were steadily increasing in size. To ensure French independence in defence matters, a new class of two modern fleet carriers was envisaged. Displacing just under 35,000 tons each, the new ships would be smaller than the Royal Navy's newly commissioned Audacious class aircraft carrier ships, but they would be built from scratch to take advantage of the latest ideas in aircraft carrier design, including angled flight deck, steam catapults and mirror landing aid, and would operate a brand new generation of French designed carrier based aircraft. In the 1990s, the aircraft carriers of the Clemenceau class underwent massive modernisations and the lenght grew from 265 to 290 metres, the tonnage grew from 32,800 tons to 58,500 tons and the number of aircraft the carriers could carry now grew to 55 aircraft.


The draft statute prepared by the Naval General Staff in 1949 requires four aircraft carriers of 20 000 tonnes have two available at all times. At its meeting of 22 August 1949, the Supreme Council of the Navy is even more ambitious: to discuss the draft statute yard, he asked six aircraft carrier fleet. On 15 July 1952, he claimed five more, including two for the French Union (not available to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization/NATO). According to the MRC 12, the final document of the Lisbon Conference of 1952, France should make available to NATO aircraft carrier on D-Day, two on day 30, three on day 180. But from 1953, the Navy must admit that it will definitely be satisfied with two aircraft carriers. The PA 54 French aircraft carrier Clemenceau (R98), budgeted in 1953, is on hold in November 1955, the PA 55 French aircraft carrier Foch (R99), budgeted in 1955, is on hold in February 1957.