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French Navy cross-decks on USS Harry S Truman

Photo: A French Rafale M prepares to touch down on the flight deck of the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) on July 3. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gitte Schirrmacher


Rafale M fighters and E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft of the Marine Nationale (French Navy) returned to the deck of a US Navy aircraft carrier earlier this month.  French Naval Aviation assets conducted integrated flight operations with aircraft from Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1), embarked aboard USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75), from July 2 to 6.

The aim of the French Air Defense week was to increase readiness and demonstrate the ability to operate together by practicing air warfare and strike techniques, including dissimilar air combat training.

With the Charles de Gaulles trike carrier undergoing an 18-month refit – including nuclear refuelling and a mid-life update – the Marine Nationale was left without a platform to train its Rafale and Hawkeye aircrews for carrier operations, and defence chiefs had to look abroad to solve the problem.

It’s the second such period of cross-deck operations following Opération Chesapeake, the at-sea portion of which involved one French E-2C and 12 Rafale Ms operating on board USS George H W Bush (CVN 77) off the US east coast from May 7 to 18.

“France is our oldest ally and a vital partner in ensuring security and stability in the region and across the globe,” said Commander, Carrier Strike Group 8, RADM Gene Black, during the Truman embark.  “The opportunity to integrate with French Naval Aviation helps us enhance our interoperability as we work to achieve common objectives.”

Throughout the exercise, flight operations were conducted over France and French territorial and international waters in the Bay of Biscay.

Harry S Truman is currently deployed in the US Sixth Fleet area of operations.

A full report on Opération Chesapeake appears in the forthcoming August issue of AFM.

A Rafale M touches down on the flight deck of USS Harry S Truman, currently deployed as part of an ongoing rotation of US forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the globe. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley


A Rafale M Fighter lands on the flight deck of the USS Harry S Truman. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rebekah A Watkins


F/A-18 Super Hornets, assigned to Carrier Air Wing One, and French Dassault Rafale Ms, fly over the USS Harry S Truman in the Atlantic. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rebekah A Watkins

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