US Destroyer and Allied Warships Part of French Navy Carrier Strike Group in Mediterranean

US Destroyer and Allied Warships Part of French Navy Carrier Strike Group in Mediterranean

As part of increasing allied naval interoperability worldwide, and as tensions ramp up with Russia, a aircraft carrier strike group (Task Force 473) centered around the carrier FS Charles de Gaulle is now operating in the Mediterranean with a slew of allied warships from the European Union (EU), NATO and French partner nations.

Among them is the  destroyer USS Ross (DDG-71).

Of concern, various Russian naval groups from the Pacific, Northern and Baltic Fleet are also heading to the Mediterranean for an exercise in the area.

USNI News notes that:

The Russian Pacific Fleet task group consists of cruiser RFS Varyag (011), destroyer RFS Admiral Tributs (564) and replenishment ship Boris Butoma. The task group previously carried out exercises with the Iranian Navy and the People’s Liberation Army Navy in the Arabian Gulf. Meeting the Pacific Fleet task group in the Mediterranean are landing ship tanks

RFS Olenegorskiy Gornyak (012) and RFS Georgiy Pobedonosets (016) and landing ship RFS Pyotr Morgunov (117) from the Northern Fleet and LSTs RFS Korolev (130), RFS Minsk (127), and RFS Kaliningrad (102) from the Baltic Fleet.

So, the Mediterranean will soon be getting more crowded. USNI News reports that France’s Task Force 473 left today for its Clemenceau 22 Mediterranean deployment, which will last until April.

Naval News reported that the task force will support Operation Chammal, the French component of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS. It will also exercise with the Italian Navy, the U.S. Navy’s Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and other NATO ships operating in the Mediterranean.

The French Navy Tweeted the news with photos and video.

USNI News adds:

French Navy ships in the task group along with Charles de Gaulle are destroyer FS Forbin (D620), frigates FS Alsace (D656) and FS Normandie (D651), replenishment ship FS Marne (A630) and a nuclear attack submarine. Partner ships integrated into the group are U.S. Navy destroyer USS Ross (DDG-71), Spanish Navy frigate ESPS Juan de Borbon (F102), Hellenic Navy frigate HS Adrias (F459) and Royal Moroccan Navy corvette Sultan Moulay Ismail (614). A Hellenic Navy submarine will join the task force on Feb. 7.

Ross’ participating in the Charles De Gaulle CSG demonstrates “the interoperability level between U.S. and French naval forces,” the U.S. Navy said in a news release last week.

“While TF 473 operates in the Mediterranean with an integrated U.S. destroyer, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, working in close coordination with other commands throughout the alliance, is exercising command and control of a U.S. carrier strike group. The flexibility of command and control structures among allies supports the collective defense of Europe,” according to the U.S. Navy.

The French strike group has some inherent air capabilities, notes USNI News, that include:

… 20 Rafale F3R fighters of Flottilles 12F and 17F, two E-2C Hawkeyes Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEWC) aircraft of Flottille 4F, 1 Dauphin helicopter and 1 Panther helicopter of Flottille 35F and 36F, respectively, and a NH90 NFH Caïman anti-submarine warfare helicopter of Flottille 31F. A Belgian Air Component NH90 helicopter is embarked on Forbin.

Meanwhile a French Navy Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft and a U.S Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will provide land-based fixed wing aircraft support to the flotilla.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.

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