Charles de Gaulle left Toulon

The French Navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) left this morning Toulon.

The departure of the Charles de Gaulle from Toulon marks the beginning of Operation Akila, a crucial mission aimed at bolstering French naval presence in the Mediterranean. This deployment comes amidst heightened tensions in the region, with the French aircraft carrier and its escort set to conduct a wide range of operations over the next six weeks.

Under the leadership of Rear Admiral Jacques Mallard, the French naval group (GAN) consists not only of the formidable Charles de Gaulle but also includes a nuclear attack submarine, an air defense frigate, a multi-mission frigate, and the replenishment vessel Jacques Chevallier. Additionally, the inclusion of allied units such as an Italian (ITS CARABINIERE, F 593), a Greek, a Portuguese (NRP BARTOLOMEU DIAS, F 333) and a Spanish frigate underscores the collaborative efforts underway to ensure stability and security in the Mediterranean.

The Charles de Gaulle’s embarked air group is highly versatile, comprising 18 Rafale Marine fighter jets, two E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft, and two Dauphin helicopters. This airpower, combined with support from Atlantic 2 maritime patrol aircraft operating from land, will enable comprehensive surveillance and response capabilities throughout the mission.

What sets this deployment apart is its temporary integration into NATO command structures, a first for the French naval group. For approximately 15 days, the GAN will operate under NATO’s oversight, highlighting the alliance’s commitment to collective defense and interoperability in the face of evolving security challenges in the Mediterranean and beyond.

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