Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Safety at any cost in Israel

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: ‘Genius’, ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ and ‘Endless Summer’

Read more

FOCUS

Europe struggles to crack down on weapons trafficking

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France priest terror attack: Is Europe helpless?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Another drop in iPhone sales, so why are Apple shares rising?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Horror in the church: Priest 'assassinated by barbarians'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Online reactions to French church attack

Read more

THE DEBATE

France church attack: Priest killed in Normandy, assailants dead

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Inside a migrant hotspot in southern Italy

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2016-02-26

Video: On board French aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle

It has a crew of nearly 2,000 people, is 262 metres long and has a flight deck bigger than a football pitch: welcome on board the Charles de Gaulle! The French aircraft carrier is now on her way home. Since December, it has been operating in the Persian Gulf as part of the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Life on board an aircraft carrier at war is intense. For five days, our reporters got a close-up look at daily life on board the pride of the French Navy.

As soon as the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier arrived in the Persian Gulf on December 19, 2015, France took command of the naval operations of the coalition against the Islamic State group. The French handed command over to the Americans two months later. "This is a first, which is the fruit of long cooperation with the United States”, explains Admiral René-Jean Crignola.

The aircraft carrier is a floating city, with 2,000 people on board. Among them, the fighter jet pilots are trained like athletes, and are pampered and privileged. They must not lose concentration during their operations. Each mission can last up to six hours. Life on the runway is organised around them to ensure a safe take-off and landing. This feels like a feat every time, as the catapult - the device that launches the planes - is just 75 metres in length. Since December, nearly 400 sorties have been carried out, either bombing terrorist targets or on intelligence missions in Syria or Iraq.

>>On France24.com, also watch our report: "On board a French frigate in the Persian Gulf".

On the bridge, the ship’s navigation is geared towards the aircraft, which have to take off against the wind. The ship must constantly seek that position. At the workshop, nearly 500 technicians and mechanics are busy 24 hours a day. They need to repair each fighter jet, each technical glitch.

The crew set sail just after the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris. When they leave on a mission, they never know how long it will last. Nor their next destination.

By Armelle CHARRIER , Julien SAUVAGET

Archives

2016-07-08 history

Video: The trial of Chad's ex-dictator Habré, an inconvenient ally

In May, former Chadian president Hissène Habré, who ruled his country with an iron fist between 1982 and 1990, was sentenced to life in prison for "crimes against humanity,...

Read more

2016-07-01 agriculture

Video: FRANCE 24 speaks to French farmers in crisis

France is the EU's largest agricultural producer, but its farmers are faced with administrative constraints, falling sales prices and debt. Many are pushed into depression and...

Read more

2016-06-23 World War I

World War I: When northern France was on German time

During World War I, thirteen of France's regional departments were under German occupation. For four years, two million French citizens took their orders from Berlin. No more...

Read more

2016-06-17 USA

Video: American conservatives strike back

Some southern US lawmakers have launched a legislative offensive to protect the "religious freedom" they believe is under threat. In Mississippi, homosexuals can now be denied...

Read more

2016-06-09 Iran

Video: A year of change for Iran since nuclear accord

It’s now been a year since Iran struck its historic nuclear accord with six world powers under which Tehran vowed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of...

Read more