MONS, Belgium – The French Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Charles de Gaulle was declared combat ready on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021 following its participation in NATO exercise Dynamic Manta 21 off the Sicilian coast.
This major exercise, which began on Feb. 22, ends a build-up phase towards the full operational capability of Task Force (TF) 473.
Exercises of this magnitude represent a major opportunity to strengthen the Alliance's anti-submarine warfare capabilities
TF 473 departed Toulon, France on Feb. 21 and embarked on an intensive operational training programme. The TF consisted of a formidable group of allied escorts capable of deterring a wide spectrum of threats. High standards and realism were the key words of these training sequences characterised by the high pace of the exercises. Surface defence, air defence, anti-submarine warfare, the fight against asymmetric and cybernetic threats are all domains in which the responsiveness of crews and equipment capabilities have been tested and validated.
The exercise warm up involved a number of allies and partners including American frigate USS Donald Cook, Belgian frigate FFGH Leopold I, Greek frigate HS Kanaris, Italian frigates ITS Rizzo and Margottini and Moroccan frigate Allal Ben Abdellah. The frigates joined forces with the French CSG and confirmed the high level of interoperability as well as common commitment to securing the Mediterranean area.
Aircraft carrier flight deck with Rafale marine during anti-submarine warfare. The French frigate “multi mission” FS FREMM Provence / CO on board aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle - Photos Marine Nationale (French Navy)
The NATO anti-submarine warfare exercise, Dynamic Manta 21, was the high point of the build-up phase of TF 473. This major exercise allowed participating nations to increase their level of interoperability. Surface ships, submarines and aircraft from 8 allied nations (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States) combined their capabilities to conduct high intensity exercises in a multi-threat environment.
The joint capabilities of the French CSG added a dimension rarely practiced in anti-submarine warfare. The French and allied ships integrated into TF 473 brought their expertise and specialised resources, thereby helping to increase the Alliance's underwater fighting capacity. The French frigate FREMM Provence’s equipment, associated with the capabilities of Caiman marine helicopter represented a real benefit in the detection and fight against a threat below the surface.
“This exercise integrated fully the carrier strike group. The high-end capabilities of the French carrier strike group gave an additional dimension to the scenario, helping to increase the level of complexity, density and realism. Exercises of this magnitude represent a major opportunity to strengthen the Alliance's anti-submarine warfare capabilities and the opportunity for French CSG to strengthen its capacity to operate under submarine threat," said Rear Admiral Marc Aussedat, commander of TF 473.
Now combat ready, TF 473 is continuing its deployment towards the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition to French navy’s assets deployed in the area, the carrier strike group will provide an autonomous capacity of assessment in this strategic area.
Since Feb. 21 and until this summer, the French Carrier Strike Group Charles De Gaulle will participate in the fight against terrorism by integrating Operation INHERENT RESOLVE / CHAMMAL and will be deployed in areas of strategic interest in the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf. TF 473 also helps to guarantee freedom of action and to secure and defend these strategic areas. Occasionally supported by foreign frigates, the French CSG testifies the interoperability and level of trust between the French Navy and its allies.