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French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle departs for Libya
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2011-03-21 10:26

French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle started to move out of the Toulon port, in southern France, Sunday noon to join military operation in Libya, according to local media.


When inquired by Xinhua, a spokesman of French general staff declined to confirm the news, only said that the procedure of sending Charles de Gaulle to Libya was underway.

Earlier in the day, French military spokesman confirmed to Xinhua that the French nuclear aircraft carrier was expected to depart Toulon port at 13:00 (1200 GMT).

According to local reports, the giant warship, driven out of the port by a tug boat, carried some 2,000 marine troop on board, and will get to Libyan coast between 36 and 48 hours.

Charles de Gaulle, the aircraft carrier, left the navy port in Toulon with over 20 warplanes, including fighter jets such as Mirage, Super Etendard, HawkEye early warning aircraft and jet helicopters, according to previous reports.

Besides, three frigates and a refuelling tank were also deployed to escort the only serving French aircraft carrier and the flagship of the French Navy. The aircraft carrier, named after French general Charles de Gaulle, is the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel, and the first and so far only nuclear-powered carrier built outside of the United States Navy.

With modern electronics and Aster missiles on board, the 38,000-ton French carrier was commissioned in September 2000 and is so far the second largest European carrier, after the Admiral Kuznetsov of Russia.

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