French Navy- Primary Maritime Defense of France

French Navy is the naval warfare branch of the French Republic. It is the 6th strongest navy in the world after US, China, Russia, India and Japan. Being powerful and nuclear capable, it is also one of the oldest navies in the world. Its main functions are to protect the maritime borders of France, naval warfare, power projection and nuclear deterrence.

French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle - Wikipedia
French Navy’s flagship FS Charles De Gaulle, a middle sized nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Picture Courtesy:

French Navy was founded in 1624 by king Louis XIII of France. It was known as the French Royal Navy in its early years of induction. The name gradually changed to la Marine Nationale (French Navy) as we know it now. It is commonly know with the nickname ‘La Royale’.

More Details on Suffren - The French Navy Next Gen SSN - & on its Export  SSK Variants - Naval News
French Navy Sailor in his dungaree during a submarine induction ceremony. Picture Courtesy:

As of manpower, there are 36,331 active duty naval personnel. It has a total of 180 ships (including auxiliaries) and 178 aircraft under French Naval Aviation. As of ships, French Navy has a nuclear powered aircraft carrier named after the French Army officer and former president of France. He was the the one who led the free French forces against the Nazi Germany during Second World War. Charles De Gaulle carrier is the only aircraft carrier outside the United States Navy which has nuclear propulsion technology.

French SSBN Class Le triomphant | Sottomarini
French Navy’s Triomphant Class Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN). Picture Courtesy:

Existing Fleet

As of other ships, French Navy’s primary ship force consists of the nuclear powered carrier, 3 amphibious assault ships, 11 destroyers, 11 frigates and 9 submarines out of which 5 are nuclear fast attack submarines and 4 are nuclear ballistic missile submarines. Other than this, France also has an auxiliary fleet which include 17 mine countermeasure ships, 8 support ships, 3 replenishment oilers, 17 patrol craft, 5 survey craft, 4 experimentation ships, 14 training crafts and 4 tugboats.

Mistral class Amphibious Assault Command Ship BPC French Navy
French Mistral class amphibious assault ship. Picture Courtesy:

Command and Control

Chief of Staff of the French Navy is its Commander-in-Chief and the naval headquarters are located in French coastal city of Toulon. Its Motto is “Honour, Homeland, Valour, discipline“.

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