French Navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has returned to its home port of Toulon Naval Base after completing four-month deployment.
The aircraft carrier, along with its carrier strike group – Task Force 473, left Toulon in March for the deployment, code-named Mission Clemenceau. During the deployment, the vessel traveled around 36,000 nautical miles, or more than one and a half times around the world.
The Task Force 473 (TF473) carrier strike group consists of Charles de Gaulle (R91), Cassard-class (Type F70 AA) air defense destroyer FS Forbin (D 620), Aquitaine-class FREMM anti-submarine warfare frigate FS Provence (D 652), Durance-class command and replenishment ship FS Marne (A 630) and a nuclear-powered attack submarine.
The carrier air wing of Charles de Gaulle includes more than thirty Dassault Rafale M F3 fighter aircraft, two E-2C Hawkeye tactical airborne early warning and control aircraft, one NHIndustries NH90 Caiman NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) and two AS365 Dauphin helicopters.
During the deployment, the strike group was reinforced by ships from many different allied navies, providing a major opportunity to enhance their interoperability. This include Portuguese Navy Vasco da Gama-class frigate NRP Corte-Real (F332), Royal Danish Navy Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate HDMS Niels Juel (F363) and ships from British Royal Navy, Italian Navy, Royal Australian Navy and U.S. Navy.
Charles de Gaulle, the flagship of the French Navy (Marine Nationale), is the only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside of the U.S. Navy service. She is named after French statesman and general Charles de Gaulle.
The vessel has a length of 262 metres and a displacement of 42,000 tonnes. She is manned by about 1,950 sailors.