Today, the French Navy aircraft carrier ‘Charles de Gaulle’ (R91) returned to Toulon after four months at the end of the Antares mission.
The French carrier strike group operated in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The French forces’ show of projection, however, clashes with the harsh reality of owning only one aircraft carrier.
In fact, the Charles de Gaulle will have to undergo work for a duration of around eight months, leaving France without a true air and sea projection capability for most of 2023.
The importance of owning (at least) two aircraft carriers is therefore evident in such cases.
Many countries, however, cannot afford two ‘standard’ aircraft carriers and therefore either go for several smaller units (such as Italy, which has the Garibaldi and Cavour in service) or a single larger unit (such as France) with the risks involved.