June 7, 2021 (Google Translation) – Tuesday 1 st June 2021 represented a historic day in the Franco-British naval cooperation. While the French Carrier Strike Group (GAN) formed around the Charles de Gaulle Aircraft Carrier (PA) returned from its CLEMENCEAU 21 deployment started last February, the British GAN led by Queen Elizabeth began its first operational deployment of long duration. In this context, France organized for three days, in its maritime approaches, a joint exercise in the Mediterranean called GALLIC STRIKE. The opportunity for the French GAN, which is completing its thirteenth operational deployment, to work for the first time with the Carrier strike group(CSG) and its aircraft, thus strengthening cooperation between the two navies.
Exercise GALLIC STRIKE consisted, for the two naval air groups, in training for a “dual carrier operation”. This is training between aircraft carriers aimed at coordinating to fight together, in a more or less integrated command structure. This sequence, which notably included a simulation of sea-to-land strikes and joint tactical maneuvers by Marine Rafale and F-35Bs, offered them the opportunity to work in complementarity in a variety of fields, such as anti-aircraft warfare, anti-surface warfare or even on the capacity to project power. This interaction strengthens cooperation between the French and British armies, and illustrates the continuity of their collaboration materialized, in particular, by the Franco-British joint expeditionary force (Combined joint expeditionary force – CJEF)  .
In total, the GALLIC STRIKE exercise brought together fifteen buildings and fifty-seven British and French aircraft, but also allies, integrated into the two carrier groups (American, Greek, Italian and Dutch). As the French GAN and the British CSG have complementary state-of-the-art resources, this exercise made it possible to increase their capacities to act together against any form of threat, up to a high-end engagement.
“ We lived, with GALLIC STRIKE, a historic moment : the first meeting of the French and British air naval groups, allowing us to coordinate, to gain in complementarity as well as in mutual knowledge and understanding. I am very proud of the work accomplished by the GAN crews in terms of preparation, coordination and finally conduct of the exercise. We have paved a way and together climbed a first step towards the ability to operate our naval air groups together. I am confident in our ability to further strengthen our cooperation through such meetings to be ready for the challenges that lie ahead, ”said Rear Admiral Marc Aussedat, Commander of the Carrier Strike Group.
If GALLIC STRIKE sealed the meeting of Charles de Gaulle and HMS Queen Elizabeth and more particularly, the cooperation between our two navies, this exercise included the participation of the USS Thomas Hudner integrated into the French GAN. In parallel, the destroyer USS The Sullivans as well as the ten American F35-B planes reinforced the British CSG. This participation came to strengthen the already very close ties forged between the French Navy and the US Navy during the CLEMENCEAU 21 mission, like the assumption of command of Task Force 50.by the French GAN for five weeks. These participations also testify to the liveliness of the cooperation which exists between the United States, Great Britain and France, as indicated by Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander of the British GAN formed around the Queen Elizabeth : ” The Royal Navy does not” Could not have ramped up its new carrier strike group so quickly without the support of its two most important strategic partners. Hundreds of sailors, airmen and flight deck personnel have interacted with the French Navy and the US Navy to maintain the skills necessary for such naval training. Some of them are now serving on HMS Queen Elizabeth ”.
In the name of this particularly strong cooperation, Admiral Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy , Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations of the United States and Admiral Pierre Vandier, Chief of Staff of the the French Navy, signed a joint declaration aboard the Charles de Gaulle on June 3. This recalls that the United States, Great Britain and France, member countries of NATO, are “ maritime nations with common values, interests and global responsibilities which oblige (them) to maintain (their ) presence to preserve maritime security and freedom of the seas ” . The three navies confirm their desire to continue and strengthen their cooperation : ” We must continue to operate together to increase the reach and capacity of our collective forces around the world. (…) We will continue to seize opportunities to deepen our cooperation and our interoperability across the globe – both in the context of operations and exercises – in order to meet the challenges of tomorrow and to maintain our strategic advantage at sea ”.