French President Francois Hollande announced his decision this week at the inauguration of the country’s new defence ministry building in Paris. He did not maker clear when the carrier will leave the port of Toulon.
The Charles de Gaulle had previously been deployed in the Persian Gulf from February to April this year, conducting between 15 and 20 flights per day, according to the French military.
Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy and was formerly the largest western European warship, a position now taken by the British carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. She is the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel,and the first and so far only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside of the United States Navy.
The ship carries a complement of Rafale’s, E‑2C Hawkeye, EC725 Caracal and AS532 Cougar helicopters.
Charles de Gaulle entered sea trials in 1999. These identified the need to extend the flight deck to safely operate the E-2C Hawkeye. This operation sparked negative publicity, however, much of the ships reputation for being unreliable that would later develop has also now dismissed.
Since beginning operations in Iraq, French fighter jets have carried out 1,285 aerial missions, resulting in 271 strikes and the destruction of 459 targets.