French carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) has left the Persian Gulf after about two months of strike operations against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) militants, according to local press reports.
The nuclear carrier and its accompanying Task Force 473 are now bound for the Indian state of Goa for exercises with the Indian military.
In its time in the region, the carrier launched an average of 10 to 15 sorties a day with its compliment of about 20 strike aircraft — a mix of Dassault Rafale M aircraft and Dassault Super Etendard Modernisé (SEM), according to a report from the RFI news agency.
The strike missions and an unknown number of surveillance flights were in support of the U.S. led Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) missions against ISIS.
The departure of the carrier “brings France’s contribution to the anti-Isis air effort down to six Rafales based in the UAE and six [Dassault Mirage IIIs] in Jordan,” reported RFI.
Task Force 473 — comprised of the 7,050 Forbin-class guided missile destroyer Chevalier Paul (D621) and at least one French nuclear attack submarine and a fleet oiler — left France in January shortly after the terrorism strike on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
In remarks in Toulon on Jan. 14, French president François Hollande said the assault on the magazine, “justifies the presence of our aircraft carrier.”
France will still operate missions in support of OIR with strike aircraft based in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
The U.S. recently swapped its own carrier force in the region from the Carl Vinson carrier strike group (CSG) to the Theodore Roosevelt CSG.
The Charles de Gaulle’s trip to India for the exercises in Goa are thought to buttress further French arms sales to the country.
In a visit to France earlier this month by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India agreed to purchase 36 French Rafales in a deal that could be worth up to $4.3 billion.
The carrier group will arrive later this week to start the 10-day Varuna training that runs from April 23 to May 3.