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France's only aircraft carrier ready for service


France's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle

PARIS (BNS): France's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, is ready to resume service after undergoing refit for two years.

The Charles de Gaulle is carrying out major trials in the Mediterranean before it resumes full service. The exercise was witnessed by Defence Minister Herve Morin.

In September 2007, Charles de Gaulle began a refit which included overhaul and refuelling of the nuclear propulsion system and installing a new SYTEX command and control system with Syracuse III satellite communications system.

The combat system has also been adapted for operations with the Rafale F3 equipped with AASM, ASMPA and Scalp-EG missiles.

The carrier took part in operations off the Pakistan coast in 2001-02, 2004, 2006 and 2007 and jets launched from its flight decks were among the first to hit Al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks, an AFP report said.

The ship was launched in May 1994 and commissioned in September 2000.

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