France will make a decision on the replacement of its flagship aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, at the start of 2020, the armed forces minister said on Tuesday.<em> “The Charles de Gaulle will need a successor,”</em> Florence Parly said at a defense exhibition in Paris. The carrier has been in service since 2001 but Paris is looking to build a vessel that would take into consideration expected technological advances post-2030 and be capable of carrying a planned new Franco-German fighter jet, Reuters reported. <em>“The first step, which starts today, is the study phase to determine what and how we want our future aircraft carrier to be. We have given ourselves 18 months,”</em> Parly said. Three other Western aircraft carriers have been built since the Charles de Gaulle was first deployed. The US Navy’s Gerald R. Ford and America, and the British Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth, which cost about $4.03 billion.