The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) will shortly leave for the Indian Ocean for exercises and to potentially join the air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Quoting an unnamed French defense ministry source, news wire Reuters reported the 42,000-ton nuclear carrier would deploy shortly for exercises in the Indian Ocean and when asked if the ship would be joining the anti-ISIS fight the source said, “It’s a military tool. It’s purpose is to be used.”
On Tuesday, a French maritime news site — Mer et Marine — reported a de Gaulle led battle group — composed of a fleet oiler, two guided missile frigates and an attack submarine — was being prepped to deploy.
President François Hollande will formally announce the deployment next week on Jan. 14 during a ceremony at the port of Toulon.
France was an early addition to the U.S. led anti-ISIS collation and has flown sorties with a collection of about 10 fighters and a collection of information, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) planes.
The addition of de Gaulle would add up to 30 fighters to the effort.