French Navy Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle
French Navy Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle

French Carrier Strike Group Charles de Gaulle Declared Fully Operational After NATO Exercise

The French Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Charles de Gaulle was declared combat ready on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021 following its participation in NATO exercise Dynamic Manta 21 off the Sicilian coast. This major exercise, which began on Feb. 22, ends a build-up phase towards the full operational capability of Task Force (TF) 473. TF 473 departed Toulon, France on Feb. 21 and embarked on an intensive operational training programme. The TF consisted of a formidable group of allied escorts capable of deterring a wide spectrum of threats. High standards and realism were the key words of these training sequences characterised by the high pace of the exercises. Surface defence, air defence, anti-submarine warfare, the fight against asymmetric and cybernetic threats are all domains in which the responsiveness of crews and equipment capabilities have been tested and validated.

The NATO anti-submarine warfare exercise, Dynamic Manta 21, was the high point of the build-up phase of TF 473. This major exercise allowed participating nations to increase their level of interoperability. Surface ships, submarines and aircraft from 8 allied nations (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States) combined their capabilities to conduct high intensity exercises in a multi-threat environment. The exercise warm up involved a number of allies and partners including American frigate USS Donald Cook, Belgian frigate FFGH Leopold I, Greek frigate HS Kanaris, Italian frigates ITS Rizzo and Margottini and Moroccan frigate Allal Ben Abdellah. The frigates joined forces with the French CSG and confirmed the high level of interoperability as well as common commitment to securing the Mediterranean area.

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French Navy Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle
French Navy Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle

The joint capabilities of the French CSG added a dimension rarely practiced in anti-submarine warfare. The French and allied ships integrated into TF 473 brought their expertise and specialised resources, thereby helping to increase the Alliance’s underwater fighting capacity. The French frigate FREMM Provence’s equipment, associated with the capabilities of Caiman marine helicopter represented a real benefit in the detection and fight against a threat below the surface. Now combat ready, TF 473 is continuing its deployment towards the Eastern Mediterranean. Since Feb. 21 and until this summer, the French Carrier Strike Group Charles De Gaulle will participate in the fight against terrorism by integrating Operation INHERENT RESOLVE / CHAMMAL and will be deployed in areas of strategic interest in the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf.

Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy (Marine Nationale). The ship is the tenth French aircraft carrier, the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel, and the only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside of the United States Navy. She is named after French statesman and general Charles de Gaulle. The ship carries a complement of Dassault Rafale M and E‑2C Hawkeye aircraft, EC725 Caracal and AS532 Cougar helicopters for combat search and rescue, as well as modern electronics and Aster missiles. She is a CATOBAR-type carrier that uses two 75 m C13‑3 steam catapults of a shorter version of the catapult system installed on the U.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. Charles de Gaulle is the only non-American carrier-vessel that allowed for operation of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets[8] and C-2 Greyhounds of the US Navy.

French Navy Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle
French Navy Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle
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