French President François Hollande has confirmed that the French Navy carrier battle group will redeploy to the Middle East in the autumn in support of Operation Chammal. It will be the third time that the Charles de Gaulle carrier has participated in the operation, conducted in coordination with allied forces to provide air support to Iraqi forces fighting against Daech.
For the first time, the French carrier will carry an all-Rafale fleet of combat aircraft, following the retirement of the last remaining Super Etendard Modernisé (SEM) on 12th July. The French Air Force also has a number of aircraft deployed in the region — eight Rafales and eight Mirage 2000D/Ns, along with refueling and reconnaissance assets. The Mirage 2000s will soon be replaced by Rafales, with some
The Charles de Gaulle has been docked in Toulon for the past few months for scheduled maintenance work and is currently conducting flight crew requalification trials. The carrier was also recently involved in flight testing of the nEUROn unmanned combat aircraft demonstrator in a naval environment.