The French Navy’s Fleet Support Service (SSF) signed off on the completion of the intermediate refit of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle after six months’ work by DCNS. From hull to combat system, without forgetting compliance tests to the latest environmental standards, communications suite modernization or the refurbishment of the accommodation and recreation areas, the project involved some 950 people and 1 million person-hours’ work.
Maintenance and modernization
In addition to scheduled maintenance, the refit was used to undertake significant modernization. The work was performed in the Vauban drydock at the Toulon naval base. The ship was given a complete facelift that included the repainting of a total area of 26,000 square meters and the complete refurbishment of one of the main galleys. Other modernization work included the replacement of the stabilization computer.
The propulsion system and other shipboard systems and equipment were inspected, overhauled and tested to ensure optimal performance in operation. Some 35 kilometers of cabling was also installed with a view to the later installation of a state-of-the-art IP network.
CVN Charles de Gaulle underwent a thorough overhaul performed by teams assembled by DCNS and its partners, supported day-to-day by the ship’s crew.
Major contracting challenge, noteworthy team success
“Scheduled refits are essential to return a ship to ‘as new’ condition. This six-month period of intense contract maintenance and modernization is over. Other teams will now resume shore-based day-to-day monitoring of the ship’s systems and equipment,” said Franck Bouffety, the Group’s Charles de Gaulle program manager.
With over 1,000 tasks in progress each week, the Vauban drydock was very busy indeed. Despite the huge number of jobs to be performed, everything was completed on time. DCNS completed the 6,000 maintenance and modernisation ‘line tasks’ specified for this scheduled refit. In addition to the ship’s crew, all available staff based at the Toulon naval base were mobilized for the extended pit stop. Virtually every DCNS center contributed in one way or another. In all, the Group assigned almost 500 employees to the project.
Technical data for intermediate refit:
- Number of people involved: 950
- DCNS employees: 250
- subcontractor employees: 200
- crew: 500
- number of subcontractors: 60
- person-hours worked: 1 million
- tasks in progress each week: 1,000
- number of line tasks: 6,000
- preparatory work for next refit: 20%
- area painted: 26,000 sq.m
- cabling installed: 35 km
- Engine room tasks:
- pipes cleaned and inspected: 25,000
- new pipes installed: 6,000
CVN Charles de Gaulle at a glance
- Commissioned: 18 May 2001 (12 years’ active service)
- Crew: ≈ 2,000 men & women (women ≈ 15%)
- Displacement, full load: ≈ 42,000 tonnes
- Length overall: 261.50 m
- Beam: 64.36 m
- Height: 75 m (equivalent to a 20-storey building)
- Average daily distance travelled: 1,000 km
- Total distance travelled: 1 million km (≈ 23 circumnavigations)
- Recent operations: Libya (Operation Harmattan), Afghanistan.