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French carrier deploys to Middle East
Charles de Gaulle carrier. © French Navy

French carrier deploys to Middle East

The French Navy's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier set sail from Toulon on 5th March for a one-month mission following its mid-life refit.

The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle set sail from Toulon on 5th March on its first mission following completion of an 18-month mid-life refit.

The mission, dubbed “Clemenceau”, will see the carrier deploy to the Mediterranean and Middle East for one month.

The carrier battle group includes an air-defence frigate, a FREMM multi-mission frigate, a command and replenishment ship and a nuclear attack submarine. A number of allied naval elements will also take part, including ships from Australia, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, the UK and the U.S.

The battle group will participate in Operation Chammal, the French contribution to US-led military operations against Islamic State (IS). Joint exercises with allied naval forces are also scheduled, as well as contacts with the Indian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy.

Following the comprehensive refit, the carrier is now equipped to operate with up to 30 Rafales, two Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft, two Dauphin plane guard helicopters and one NH90 Caiman helicopter.

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