France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier arrives in Singapore

France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier arrives in Singapore

French Navy Charles de Gaulle (12)
French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle docked at Changi Naval Base. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan) 

SINGAPORE: French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle berthed at Changi Naval Base on Tuesday (May 28) morning as part of a five-month deployment from its home port in Toulon, France.

Deployed with it is a carrier strike group comprising Rafale fighter jets, a naval multi-purpose helicopter and two Hawkeye early warning aircraft in its air wing, as well as multi-mission frigates, a command and supply ship, and a nuclear attack submarine.

French Navy Charles de Gaulle
The Rafale Marine jets taking pride of place on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan) 

The deployment, dubbed Mission Clemenceau, has taken the French strike group and its crew of 3,200 through the Mediterranean and Indian oceans - two of its areas of strategic interest.

During its time in Singapore, the French Navy will participate in bilateral exercises including an amphibious exercise with the Singapore Navy involving frigates, naval units as well as fighter jets from the Singapore Air Force.

The French Carrier Vessel Nuclear Charles de Gaulle has a crew of 1,200
The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has a crew of 1,200, and its main mission is the control of air and maritime operations. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

This is the French aircraft carrier’s second time in Singapore after 17 years. Commander of the Charles de Gaulle and Task Force 473, Rear-Admiral Olivier Lebas noted that it was a testament to the relationship between the two countries, given how "both navies have regularly maintained strong links, illustrated by common exercises".

French Navy Charles de Gaulle (1)
The Singapore skyline seen from the flight deck of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan) 

The carrier strike group arrived in Singapore ahead of the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security forum which French minister of armed forces, Florence Parly, is due to attend. The forum begins on Friday.

 The Charles de Gaulle has a 75-meter deck for catapult launching and landing aircraft
The Charles de Gaulle has a 75m deck for catapult-launching and landing aircraft weighing 15-25 tonnes. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)
A sailor stands in the shadow of a Rafale Marine on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier
A sailor stands in front of a Rafale Marine jet on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan) 

In March and April, the French strike group spent the first leg of its deployment in the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Separately, the French strike group also saw American, Danish, British, Portuguese and Australian allies participate in part of the Clemenceau deployment.

“This deployment is about strengthening, fostering exchanges with our strategic partners by developing strong links, common work habits, tactical cooperation and mutual knowledge which are essential to operational efficiency,” Commander Lebas said.

"Being deployed in the Indian Ocean and being here in Singapore today underlines France’s interest in these regions and in strengthening cooperation in partner navies."

French Navy Charles de Gaulle (2)
A man walks past a row of Rafale Marine fighter aircraft, with the advanced observation E-2C Hawkeye seen in the background. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan) 
On the flight deck of the Carrier Vessel Nuclear Charles de Gaulle.
On the flight deck of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan) 

On the homebound stretch of the carrier strike group’s journey, it will take part in bilateral exercises with the Egyptian army before heading back to Toulon. 

Source: CNA/gc(dt)

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