Naval Air: January 1, 2002

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The new French nuclear powered aircraft carrier, "Charles de Gaulle," has had no end of teething problems. Most were blamed on poor design and supervision during construction. But there are more subtle problems having to do with poor decisions made before construction even began. The carrier was to have had a top speed of 32 knots, which would make it easier for it's heavy jet warplanes to land. But the ship can only make a top speed of 28 knots. Not a big difference, unless you are landing on the deck. The reason for this is that, rather than design new nuclear power plants for the ships power plant, basically the same one already used in French nuclear submarine was employed. Someone miscalculated (finger pointing is still going on), and the carrier was never able to make it's rated top speed. The power plant for the sub was not able to provide the necessary power for a large surface ship.

 


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