May 31, 2021 (Google Translation) – On May 27, while en route to the Strait of Malacca, the Joan of Arc 2021 group, made up of the Tonnerre amphibious helicopter carrier (PHA) and the La Fayette (FLF) Surcouf frigate , was joined by the Singaporean frigate Steadfast to conduct joint naval training. This PASSEX (occasional naval exercise) lasting a few hours engaged the bridge teams, the aeronautical implementation chain, but also the gunners of each vessel.
It was at noon that the exercise between French and Singaporean units began. The first phase of training first concerned the functional chains of aeronautical implementation. In this context, two Super Puma helicopters from the Republic of Singapore Air Force landed on the Tonnerre then on the Surcouf for an hour. This aerial ballet is not trivial. This PASSEX has indeed enabled Super Puma crews to become familiar with the procedures applied in France. Singaporeans were notably confronted with our phraseology but also with our safety procedures on the flight deck. These training sessions have also made it possible to maintain the good level of interoperability between France and Singapore, which is also an essential condition for the conduct of joint operations.
This first phase completed, the three buildings began the second phase of the PASSEX. It was a tactical evolution exercise. After comcheck gateway to gateway, PHA Thunder , FLF Surcouf and the frigate Steadfast went on position. In this setting, the Tonnerre was the base building while the other two evolved around it. The formations were thus linked: in line, in column, in triangle, to the rhythm of the tactical orders given by Tonnerre . These maneuvering exercises are essential to navigate in close formation in complete safety. After an hour of maneuvering, and following a short Flag hoist exercise(clubhouse training), Tonnerre and Steadfast entered the last phase of the exercise, which was devoted to shots on floating goals. In turn, the two ships deployed their artillery chain. It was the 12.7mm machine gun and 20mm cannon that were chosen for the Tonnerre . “ Target classified as suspicious in our starboard 85, approaching radially, fire to be neutralized ” we heard on the bridge. A few seconds later, the shooter of the 12.7 mm machine gun number 1 announces ” From 12.7 n ° 1: target destroyed!” “.
At the end of these four hours of joint training, the Tonnerre continued its route to Singapore, its next port of call.