The French Navy (Marine Nationale) Carrier Strike Group set sail yesterday for a long operational deployment named, “Foch.” Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle and its escort set course to the Eastern Mediterranean before sailing for the Northern Atlantic area.
The vessels composing the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) departed Toulon on Tuesday, Jan. 21, for the “Foch” mission. This three-month-long deployment will take the CSG, first, to the eastern Mediterranean to support the French forces of Operation Chammal, and then to the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea where its activities will mainly consist of cooperation exercises with American and European forces.
“The aircraft carrier will support Chammal operations from January to April 2020 before deploying to the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea,” French President Emanuel Macron said at a New Year’s Day speech to the French military.
This deployment meets four major objectives:
- The operational deployment in areas of strategic interest for the benefit of European security and the stability of its approaches;
- To maintain the operational commitment of France and the French Navy in the fight against terrorism by contributing to the International Coalition against Daesh;
- To maintain the very high level of interoperability with France’s European and NATO partners;
- To maintain the quality of the relations which bind France and its international partners.
Departing from Toulon, the CSG consisted of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its airwing, the multi-mission frigate (FREMM) Auvergne, the air defense frigate (FDA) Chevalier Paul, the command and refueling vessel (BCR) Var, the Hellenic Navy frigate HS Spetsai and a nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN).
Throughout the deployment, various French and allied vessels (Spanish, Portuguese, Belgian, Dutch and German), as well as an Atlantic two maritime patrol aircraft, will integrate or have interactions with the CSG.
For the “Foch” deployment, Charles de Gaulle‘s airwing includes 18 Rafale M, two E-2C Hawkeye aircraft, one NH90 NFH helicopter and two Dauphin helicopters.
A version of this post originally appeared on Naval News. It’s been republished here with permission.