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France Confirms First Aircraft Carrier Deployment Under NATO Command

NATO

The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will mark its first deployment under NATO command on April 22.

The warship, carrying 18 Rafale jets and other aircraft, will sail to the Mediterranean with a strike group, including a French air defense frigate, a multimission frigate and a nuclear attack submarine. Vessels from the United States, Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal will also join the carrier, Defense News reported.

According to Navy Technology, Charles de Gaulle was nonoperational for five months in 2023 for maintenance.

In a press briefing, Rear Adm. Jacques Mallard, commander of the French carrier strike group, said the six-month mission aims to better understand the chain of command arrangements, boost cooperation with allies, and improve NATO’s defensive and deterrent posture.

He said the carrier strike group may support the Standing NATO Maritime Group deployed in the region, an air defense mission over Poland and a defensive mission in Romania. He said a deployment to the Red Sea, where the Houthis are attacking commercial ships, is under consideration.

While the admiral declined to say whether the group will head to the Indo-Pacific following the Mediterranean mission, he noted that the region “is one of the many theaters where the carrier strike group could have an impact.”

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