The Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group and the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group met in the Red Sea recently.
The Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group, composed of aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, destroyer FS Forbin and the Royal Danish Navy Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate HDMS Niels Juel and the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, composed of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, cruiser USS Mobile Bay and destroyer USS McFaul, conducted dissimilar aircraft training, a nighttime gun exercise (GUNEX), a liaison officer exchange programme, and a photo exercise.
“French Rafale aircraft and American Super Hornets conducted air-to-air combat and tanking (refueling) training,” said Cmdr. Desobry Bowens, Carrier Air Wing Nine’s operation officer (CAG-Ops) embarked aboard the John C. Stennis.
“The Rafales also performed touch-and-go procedures on the [John C. Stennis’] flight deck.”
The ships and their crews were put through several integrated training events, say the US Navy in a release.
“We did a liaison officer exchange, where their CAG-Ops and admiral spent time aboard the John C. Stennis, and our admiral went to the Charles De Gaulle,” said Bowens.
“We also exchanged landing signal officers from both aircraft carriers to cross-train. Both carriers have similar aircraft landing equipment.”
Conducting joint operations and exercises in the region with allied NATO partners is beneficial to everyone involved say the US Navy.
“[This] PASSEX enhances partnerships with our NATO allies, and promotes interoperability,” said Bowens.
“We can better understand how each other operates. [The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group’s] mission often includes presence operations, and when we work in combined airspace, we show strength through resolve. We’re not just two aircraft carriers passing by each other at sea, we’re working together.”
A similar viewpoint was shared by French leadership.
“This PASSEX with John C. Stennis strike group, a few days only after entering the Red Sea, emphasizes Charles de Gaulle’s come back at its highest level,” said Capt. de Saint Germain, commanding officer of Charles de Gaulle.
“That kind of interaction is the best way to increase our interoperability with our American ally.”
The John C. Stennis also provided targets for French Rafales to strafe at during the nighttime GUNEX.