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CVA-01 joint program between France and GB

How france and Great Britain made the CVA-01 together. 
 
In 1963, France was very satisfied with Foch and Clemenceau, but admited that a third, bigger derivative would be useful. This had been studied in 1958 (PA-52 Verdun). 
Great Britain studied CVA-01 at the time. Merging CVA-01 and Verdun specifications, the two countries found a nice compromise. A 45000 tons,280m aircraft carrier would be nice.  
 
Naval shipyards in France and GB become allied in the program, and building of the first carrier started in march 1965. ). The new aircraft carrier would enter service in 1970. France bought one, and take an option on a second; great Britain bought four of them. With Foch and Clemenceau as escort carriers, this would gave europe a potent carrier force.  
 
The French backing and involvment in the program (in money of course, but also from a political and diplomatic point of view) help saving the CVA-01 in 1966 (this was also because, as in the Concorde pact in 1962, their was no "way out" in the contract…). 
 
In 1971, the first carrier entered service with the RN: is name was "Queen Elizabeth" 
In 1973, 1976 and 1978 the  
"Duke of Edimburgh", "King George V", and "Prince of Wales" followed. The French one, dubbed R100 "Jean Moulin" was launch in Brest in 1974. Another carrier, the R101"Mendes-France" was cancelled in 1978 because of the economic crisis.  
 
These British and French carriers operated along Essex class carriers sold to european countries by the USA ("Cervantes" "Amsterdam" "Leonardo da Vinci" and "Goethe"). On those times, there was no less than 11 carriers in europe!!! 
 
More, also in 1958, France had studied a Mach2 naval fighter the Breguet 112. Great Britain studied the SR-177, but the two programs had been cancelled early due to their cost. As a consequence, in 1963, interceptors on the flight deck were Sea Vixen and Etendard IV. The two countries agree to develop a mach2 naval fighter, starting from the Breguet 112 project. Breguet and BAC were associated in the SPANCS (Societé de Production de l'Avion Naval de Combat Supersonique)  
 
 
For the strategic bomber; things were much complicated, as Mirage IV and TSR-2 were nearly rivals. But a pragmatic point of view was found. First, France admitted that the Mirage IV needed better engine and radar. More, France needed experience to make military turbofans, to replace the ageing Atar turbojet. As a consequence, SNECMA and RR firm a pact to develop a derivative of the Spey for an ehanced Mirage IV. Thompson CSF also badly needed the British expertise on radars. So, the upgraded Mirage IV would have the TSR-2 radar. When the TSR-2 program was stupidly cancelled in April 1965, the RAF was interested by the F-111; but finally they adopted the Mirage IVK. This was a good choice, because the F-111 program become a financial disaster, but only a medium range bomber. As a consequence, in 1971, the two countries decided to develop a long range, heavy bomber, starting from Concorde. This was the plane to replace the Avro Vulcans., and also Mirage IVA. To have more than 6500km range, there was four 6000L drop tanks underwing, and a flight refueling probe. A bomb bay was added. The blue steel missile was resurected, and France accelerate his ASMP program. In 1977, the first planes entred service with 617 "Dambusters"sq and GB 1/91 "Gascogne".  
 
British and French publics firms also agree to make a pole to counter Dassault growing influence; BAC and Aerospatiale developed close links from 1971 in combat aircrafts programs (the Harrier was licence build in Toulouse to become a naval strike fighter). 
 
Armada carriers in the falkland war. 
 
In 1973, Argentina bought one Essex class carrier, and name it "Eva Peron". In 1977, the military dictatorship launched a heavy rearmement program, and another Essex was bought. It's name was "Buenos Aires". A SE deal was firm with dassault, along with F1EM.Argentina was the very first export customer of the F1EM. When Argentina invaded falklands in 1982, the two carriers were ready to fight. The British send the "Queen elizabeth" "Duke of Edimburgh" and "Prince of Wales". An incredible carrier battle started to rage in may! 
Fortunately, britsh Dassault F1EM had been upgraded in 1981with up-to-date blue fox radars, along with AIM-9P and Skyflash missiles. Argentinian F1EM could only fire R-530 and Magic-1, because they dated back from 1977. The two fighters could fire exocet missiles, but the British prefered the Sea Skua. On 11 may 1982, the "Prince of Wales" was attacked by 8 SE and 5 F1EM from the "Peron" and "buenos aires" and sunk by no less than 6 Exocets. This was a terrible shock for the RN, but the service quickly replied. 5 days later, on 16th may, no less than 65 F1EM were catapulted from the two surviving carriers, and sunk the two argentinian carriers, along with two cruisers, with no less than 40 Sea Skua. The Armada had no carrier anymore; but Chile was his allied. The "O'Higgins" was loan to argentina and headed to the Falklands, but was torpedoed by the attack nuclear submarine "HMS conqueror".It was not sunk because it was not argentinian, but was badly damaged.  
 
A british fighter pilot talk about the tremendous attack of 16th may 1982. 
"on 11th may, I saw the prince of wales attack. SE and F1EM attacked from all directions, leaving it little chance of survive.It was a huge shock for us, as it was the first loss of a British carrier since WWII. Five days latter, we were ready to strike back. The idea was to denied argentina his carrier force. Our chief said "Ok. They were 13, from two small aicraft carriers, to sunk the Wales. They probably think they have made a massive attack, but they are wrong. The FAA will reply, also from two carriers, but much bigger and with much planes on board. Gentlemen, we are going to sunk all argentinian carriers with a REAL massive attack. No less than 65 planes will be catapulted. 40 of them with Sea Skua, others for air cover. Attack from all directions, and no mercy for them. England forever!" 
"I sat down on my F1EM on the flight deck. My plane was heavily loaded, with two Sea Skua underwings, and a big drop tank under the fuselage. I had two AIM-9P on the wingtips. Others planes were on the air. I was catapulted whithout problem. The air cover planes flew high, to attract ennemy fighters. Turning my head, I saw a huge number of F1EM loaded with missiles behind me. That was very impressive; the last massive anti-ship air raid dated back from WWII, in the time of piston engined bombers and torpedoes. The mission was : flying very low, and attack under the radar horizon. Half of the attackers had a direct road to their target, but others have to turn. I search target on my radar, and saw a big spot -the bueno aires!- I gave the "top" and suddendly we all fire our sea Skua to the target. 10 Mirages meant 20 sea skua -and this was only 1/2 of the attack!!- all the mssiles started their rocket engine and their trip to their target, skimming the waves. After locking the missiles on the targets,we turned and landed on the Queen elizabeth, as other mirages came back. Later, we heard and saw the result of our attack on TV. That was terryfing! The Argentinian fleet was quiet, and suddenly, missiles impacts started to crippled and decimate the ships. The bueno Aires was totally destroyed by no less than 14 impacts. The other carrier took 12 impacts and was totally scrap. Two heavy cruisers were sunk, and the Armada reduced to a shadow of itself. Britannia ruled the waves, once again!!" 
 
The Dunkerque pact 
 
In 1963, after the Nassau agreement, Great Britain also wanted a pact with an european country. That was typical of Great Britain,one hand with the USA, other hand with europe. As a consequence, on 17 march 1963, Great Britain firm with France the Dunkerque pact. At the time, France economy was in full swing, whereas British economy was declining. This phenomenon was evident concerning aerospace industry : France made is own nuclear deterrent force with a long range bomber; two modern aircrafts carriers have been built; missiles and rocket were well on the way. In great britain, all the programs equivalent were troubled : the Blue Streak had been cancelled, the TSR-2 ran into problems, the aircrafts carriers were ageing, their successor, the CVA-01 was also in trouble. Worst, the aerospace industry had been badly shaked by the infamous defence white paper of April 1957. British governements of the 60's had to admit that their country no longer had enough money to develop high-tech programs such as supersonics bombers, balistic missiles or aircraft carriers. This harsh realism led to a chain of disastrous decisions (defence white paper, 1957;TSR-2 and P-1154 cancellation,1965;CVA-01 cancellation,1966…). 
On the other hand, many programs were made with France. As a consequence, in 1963, the two governements decided to group all the collaborative efforts into a huge pact, the Dunkerque pact. From this moment, France become Great Britain main collaborator on high-tech , aerospace programs such as civil aviation (with concorde) military aviation ( strategic bombers and naval fighters) navy (aircraft carriers and their escort) and space. The aim was not "France scrap Great Britain". The idea was to make a pool of savoir faire between the two countries.  
For Great Britain, this mean more money and a strong backing to make strategic programs; for France, too, it was less expensive than staying alone. What was more intersting was the political stabilty in France at the time, constrating with successive governements in GB. A detailed study was made to fulfil the needs of the two countries in the military area.  
 
 
After the CVA-01 program was save with French help in 1966, Great Britain nevertheless decided not to scrap its old aicraft carriers. Hermès was change into a helicopter carrier; but the four big carriers Victorous, Formidable, Ark Royal and Eagle were rpoposed to export markets. Waiting for customers, they were mothballed.  
After Iran buying of two essex carriers, Irak badly needed carriers, too : Eagle and Ark Royal were bigs and powerful, but also expensive because of their bad shape. So, Victorious and Formidable were bought instead. They were less expensive, and were roughly the equivalent of Essex carriers. Great Britain agree to sell these ships to Irak. An enormous dockyard was built in Um Qasar to receive them. In 1977, they were refited with modern equipments borrowed to the CVA-01. They were name "Saddam Hussein" and "Baghdad". France of course sold F1EM, and SE.  
India was very interested in carriers. But the sole "Vikrant" was very old, and its airplanes (Hawker Seahawks) totally obsolete. After the war with Pakistan, India really wanted a big force of aircrafts carriers to use it as a deterrent. As India was not in good terms with the USA, the country turn to France and Great Britain. India really wanted a CVA-01, but this was too expensive. A deal was found : after the Jean Moulin CVA-01 entered service in 1971, France didn't Clemenceau carriers anymore. So, three options were envisaged with India 
- sold the blueprints to the country 
- build others clemenceau for India 
- sell the R98 Clemenceau itself. 
The first solution was quickly eliminated, as India was not able to make the ship, even with the help of French technicians. The last was also unacceptable : French navy was reluctant to get ride of one of his precious carriers (albeit the clemenceau was the worst of the three; even the Foch was better). So the second solution was accepted by the two countries as a compromise.. but India warned that his budget didn't allowed more than ne ship of this class. The solution was found by the British : they proposed their Ark Royal. Learning that its sistership the Eagle was also for sale, India bought the two!!.  
So India had finnaly three aircrafts carriers, a brand new Clemenceau ("New Delhi") and the former British carriers Eagle ("Nehru") and Ark Royal ("Bombay"). France sold Mirage F1EM interceptors, and Great Britain proposed the Harrier and SeaJaguar; the latter was adopted. The three carriers offered a very potent force. 

 

(c) Dupont Jean - Créé à l'aide de Populus.
Modifié en dernier lieu le 27.02.2006
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