February 27, 2020 (Google Translation) – Committed from January 29 to February 20 within Operation Chammal, the twenty Rafale marine and two E2C-Hawkeye of the air group on board the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle achieved 667 hours in operational flights, of which a little more than 150 at night. These many hours of flight over the Levant theater allowed the carrier strike group to actively contribute to the fight against terrorism, led by the international coalition.
The aircraft of the French Navy have carried out several types of missions, ranging from reconnaissance and information gathering to support for ground troops. In all, the thirty pilots of the on-board air group carried out, thanks to the full support of the naval aviation group and its nearly 2,900 sailors, 127 outings to the theater, an average of six missions per day.
By supporting the French means involved in the operation, the carrier strike units contributed to the research and characterization of jihadist activities through 53 reconnaissance flights. French Navy aircraft also carried out 74 ground support missions to protect coalition troops ashore, deterring the enemy. The objective of these flights was to identify and then obstruct the residual military capabilities of the terrorist organization Daesh which is now operating underground. With the support of the French and foreign Air Forces, 260 in-flight refueling operations were carried out, making it possible to increase the time spent by French Navy aircraft in the theater of operations.
This month of operations in the eastern Mediterranean also saw the completion of the first operational Rafale marine flight to the new F3-R standard. The flights began as soon as the Carrier Strike Group entered Operation Chammal and continued throughout the Carrier Carrier group’s presence in the theater. Implemented by flotilla , these latest generation aircraft offer a significant advance in terms of communication, intelligence and armaments. Another first implementation during the operation, the refueling of Rafale marine by an Air Force A330 Phoenix. Departing from Istres, this aircraft provided in-flight supplies for two Marine Rafale patrols over the theater of operations.
Finally, the presence of the carrier battle group in the eastern Mediterranean also helped organize many cooperation exercises between the Navy and the riparian countries and with the British forces and the 6 th Fleet deployed permanently in the area. A total of 21 interactions took place (air defense, air combat, sea rescue exercise, cross deck, dives, etc.) between French units and foreign units, allowing us to strengthen our interoperability and work on the harmonization of procedures with a view to future activities. These cooperations have strengthened ties between France and its partners. In addition, from its departure from Toulon on January 21, the carrier strike group integrated escort buildings which fully participated in the deployment and defense of the carrier group, first the Greek frigate HS Spetsai, then the HS Psara , its sistership , as well as an American destroyer, the USS Ross , testifying to the strength of operational links with our partners.
The Carrier Strike Group, formed around the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is currently deployed for the Foch mission. After a first part carried out in the eastern Mediterranean, the GAN will be deployed in the Atlantic then in the Baltic Sea. This second part will focus on France’s cooperation with its European partners and members of the Atlantic Alliance.