The Charles de Gaulle has set sail for a deployment to the Indian Ocean and Singapore.
“There are departures that leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth, but not yours. Yours already has the taste of victory,” French Defence Minister Florence Parly told crew on board.
The ship recently completed an 18-month mid-life refit which included upgrades to its radars and communications systems, combat systems and a refuelling of its two nuclear reactors, which should allow it to stay in service for another 20 years.
The Charles de Gaulle does not plan to enter the South China Sea, the epicentre of the territorial disputes, according to the French ministry of defence.
The carrier battle group includes two frigates, a supply ship, a nuclear attack submarine, and occasionally ships from Portugal, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia and the United States.
In late September 2016, the Charles de Gaulle was deployed from Toulon to the Syrian coast for the Battle of Mosul. Its squadron of 24 Rafale M jets is supporting the international coalition against Islamic State through airstrikes and reconnaissance missions.