April 30, 2020 (Google Translation) – The CLEMENCEAU 21 mission foresees the two-time integration of the Naval Air Group (GAN) formed around the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in Operation CHAMMAL, the French component of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (OIR). The first part of this support for the forces engaged in the Levant was held from the Arabian Gulf, from 24 March to 22 April 2021.
For their sixth participation in Operation CHAMMAL, GAN aircraft carried out 90 sorties over the Iraqi-Syrian theatre. “Our patrols for OIR have pursued two objectives in recent weeks,” explains the commander of the Onboard Air Group (GAé), Captain Marc Moreau. “The first is the support of local forces on the ground. For our aircraft, the Rafale Marine and E-2C Hawkeye, it is a matter of protecting convoys or bases and always being ready to intervene. Their presence, coordinated by the Combined Air Operation Center (CAOC), along with other means committed by the allies, shows the enemy, in this case Daesh, that we are ready to strike at any time, in a planned or reactive manner. It’s a way for us to keep up the pressure.
The second objective is to produce intelligence through the collection of information, which then allows us to better guide the Coalition’s action. Daesh was defeated but did not disappear: it changed its ways of operating. To effectively combat the rebuilding of its capabilities, it is essential that we characterize its modes of action. This is what we do from the air, from the aircraft carrier (PA) Charles de Gaulle. »
The information captured by the Rafale Marine and E-2C Hawkeye during their flights over the theatre of operation is analysed on the PA Charles de Gaulle by the intelligence cell of the gan’s on-board staff.
Lieutenant (Navy) Guillaume, an analyst, has been working in recent weeks on the images reported by the GAé aircraft: “Our job is to respond to the coalition’s requests for a list of needs to act effectively in the fight against Daesh. We study the images taken during the missions carried out by the Rafale Marine, to search for the fighters of the terrorist organization, still active, although now structured in small cells. We look for places where they hide, we spot questionable activities that can betray their presence, etc. The resulting information is then passed on to the Coalition, benefiting the allies and in particular the Iraqi partner, which is being supported in the resurgence of its security forces.”
The passage of the Strait of Hormuz by the GAN on 24 April closed the first participation of the GAN in favour of Operation CHAMMAL and the Coalition. It will resume shortly, as Captain Moreau points out: “The aircraft carrier allows for the agile implementation of our aircraft. Its mobility provides reinforcement to our allies where necessary and timely. Changing the maritime façade to operate is a way to reinforce the unpredictable nature of our modus operandi and to exercise our freedom of action.”