NOTE: Since this was written, BNS Leopold I has left the group over COVID-19
March 20, 2020 (Google Translation) – Almost two months after the departure of the Foch mission from Toulon, the carrier strike group formed into Task Force 473 made a stopover in Brest, the city which saw the birth of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
After four weeks in the eastern Mediterranean within the framework of the Inherent Resolve / Chammal operation to fight terrorism, and 17 days of operational patrol in the central Mediterranean during which the GAN cooperated with its Greek and American allies, the aircraft carrier and his escort crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to begin a new operational phase of the Foch mission in the Atlantic.
The Carrier Strike Group contributes in the Atlantic to European defense and collective security by mastering the air and maritime space. Through its presence, it strengthens the capacity to assess the regional situation, in conjunction with its allies.
The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and his escort, the command and supply building (BCR) Somme, the multi-mission frigates (FREMM) Brittany and Normandy, the air defense frigate (FDA) Chevalier Paul, the German frigate Lübeck, the Belgian frigate Léopold 1, the Spanish frigate Blas de Lezo and the Portuguese frigate Corte Real, carried out a two-day operational break in the military port of Brest. This stop, necessary for the continuation of the mission, made it possible to supply the GAN buildings with food and fuel, to carry out technical maintenance operations and to carry out the logistical movements necessary for the continuity of the mission. The submarine participating in the escort of the aircraft carrier, meanwhile, at sea,
It was the first stopover of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in Brest in 10 years.
Entering the North Sea during the night of March 16 to 17, the GAN continues its mission in the North Sea where it maintains operational cooperation with the Allied navies and actively contributes to the protection of European maritime and territorial approaches.
Ø Successful Mistral fire from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier
Before its stopover, the GAN carried out on the night of March 12 a firing exercise of a MISTRAL missile, an integral part of the short-range surface-air self-defense system of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Objective of the exercise: to train operators and the ship to retaliate, in conditions close to reality, against a direct threat on the aircraft carrier.
Within the Central Operation, the concentrated sailors followed an aerial attack simulated by a target, towed by an aircraft. The target simulates an enemy missile which must be detected and followed before firing from a SADRAL launcher.
The exercise was carried out successfully, the MISTRAL missile having been immediately fired from the runway detected and identified as a threat. The destruction of this simulated missile illustrates the ability of the aircraft carrier to protect its living space in the face of this type of threat.
The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is equipped with 12 MISTRAL missiles, placed on 2 SADRAL launchers. They constitute a complementary part of the self-defense capabilities of the aircraft carrier with the ASTER missiles. Together, and associated with the capabilities of the air defense frigate (FDA) which escorts the GAN, they protect the aircraft carrier 360 ° and provide a safety bubble against any surface-to-air threat.
Ø A “Linkex” or how the GAN keeps a link in 3 dimensions
On Tuesday March 17, the nuclear attack submarine (SNA) which escorts the GAN during the Foch mission carried out a “linkex” type exercise with an E2C-Hawkeye aircraft of the on-board air group (GAé) on board of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Equipped with high-performance sensors, the SNA identified and located a fictitious threat at sea. Returning to periscopic immersion, the submarine then transmitted real-time information via the L11 tactical data link to the Hawkeye plane then in flight in the area. Able to follow more than 1,500 tracks and transmit this information to a range of nearly 200 nautical miles, the Hawkeye fully played its role of controller by relaying the information collected to the Rafale marine which then surrendered, from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, on the objective identified by the submarine. During the exercise, more than 100 tracks were sent to the E2C-Hawkeye, then located 150 nautical miles from the SNA. This formidable aggregation of resources makes GAN a powerful and effective tool, multiplier of capacities, with an independent assessment of the situation and rapid, proportionate and graduated intervention.