May 14, 2020 (Google Translation) – On February 22, the multi-mission frigate (FREMM) Provence set sail for a mission in the Mediterranean. As part of an almost permanent presence of French frigates in this area, Provence , engaged since the beginning of March in the CHAMMAL operation to fight against Daesh , has thus contributed to the capacity for independent assessment of the situation in France in this region.
After ten days of participation in the NATO exercise “DYNAMIC MANTA” in the Ionian Sea, alongside ships from seven allied nations (Germany, Canada, Spain, United States, Greece, Italy and Turkey) and multiple air and maritime means, the Provence and its Caiman Marine detachment from the 31F flotilla joined the CHAMMAL theater to start an active patrol on the approach to the Syrian coast.
Once again, FREMM has demonstrated the relevance of its concept and the capabilities of its sensors: MFR (multi-function Herakles) radar, electronic warfare, hull sonar 4110 and towed sonar 4249, Caïman Marine helicopter, all essential tools to characterize particularly dense activity in the theater of operations. For more than two months, nights and days, operators in Provence followed one another to capture these flows, process them, flush out weak signals and offer analyzes.
In addition to the CHAMMAL operation, the eastern Mediterranean is characterized by the richness of its energy resources and the tensions they generate. Through its presence in this maritime area, Provence has contributed to highlighting irregular activities and to recalling France’s attachment to international maritime law, freedom of navigation and the security of strategic routes, in particular towards the canal. from Suez.
In parallel with the operations, the crew continued their training tirelessly (combat stations, live assaults, Nuclear, Radiological, Biological and Chemical (NRBC) training, fire and waterway exercises, fire, first aid, winching, etc.) to maintain its reaction capacities at the highest level, faithful to its Semper Paratus motto . These trainings were also the occasion of joint exercises with the regional partner forces, in particular with the Lebanese Armed Forces.
In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, while very strict measures were put in place to protect the crew from any risk of contamination, the stopovers were limited to the logistical maneuvers of refueling food, fuel and equipment. The sailors of Provence were able to maintain a formidable spirit of cohesion during the mission.
At the time of handing over the baton in the eastern Mediterranean to the La Fayette Aconit- type frigate , they can be justifiably proud to have stayed the course for these two months and carried out the mission entrusted to them until the end.