Air operations over Iraq against Islamic State from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle have now begun.

Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy and the largest western European warship currently in commission.

She is the tenth French aircraft carrier, the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel, and the only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside of the United States Navy.

The carrier arrived in the region earlier in September.

In late February last year, the carrier and its battle group entered the Persian Gulf to participate in Opération Chammal, its first operation against Islamic State militants in Iraq. The carrier battle group arrived in the Persian Gulf and began launching airstrikes on the 22nd of February; this occurred seven weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, as France vowed to be more responsive to jihadist terrorism.

In November 2015, France announced Charles de Gaulle would return to the area to conduct operations and the ship departed from its base in Toulon, southern France, on the 18th of November. In June 2016, the United States Navy awarded the crew of the Charles de Gaulle a Meritorious Unit Commendation for its accomplishmemts.

Once again the vessel is now back in the region, French radio station RTL also reported that 24 aircraft will take part in todays operations, “with a sortie every three minutes, on average.”

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