The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier came out of its dry dock in the Mediterraean port of Toulon on a beautiful August 22 dawn and has another 100 days of maintenance and upgrade at quayside before it can go back to sea.
The French flagship has been undergoing its first major technical stoppage (known in French as an IPER which stands for: Indisponibilité Périodique pour Entretien et Réparations or periodical indisposition for upkeep and repairs) since July 31, 2007, almost exactly six years after it entered active service on May 18, 2001.
The €300 million ($444 million) IPER, being done by French military shipyard DCNS, took three years to prepare with the ship being out of action for 15 months.
There are 1,700 people working on the ship who will have totalled 2,530,000 hours of work removing and applying 40 tons of paint, changing 80 kms of cable and replacing 32 combustion parts on the two nuclear power generators, amongst other things, by the time the aircraft carrier is ready to go back to sea.
The main objective of the IPER, apart from giving the power generators new combustibles, is to adapt it to the arrival in 2009 of the F3 standard Rafale fighter aircraft and the ASMP-A and Scalp naval missiles.
The French Navy has more pictures and video: Sortie de bassin pour le Charles de Gaulle