December 22, 2015 — ARABIAN GULF (NNS) — The French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) conducted its first missions against ISIL from the Arabian Gulf as the flagship for Commander Task Force (CTF) 50 on Dec. 20.
In a move that demonstrates the interoperability and partnership between the naval forces of the U.S. and France, the French Navy is leading carrier-based naval strike operations for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) – the fight to degrade and ultimately destroy the ISIL terrorist organization.
French Rear Adm. Rene-Jean Crignola, aboard Charles de Gaulle, assumed command of CTF 50 Dec. 7 after entering the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO). This marks the first time the French Navy has served as commander of a U.S. task force in this region. CTF 50 plans and conducts coalition strike operations in the Middle East and reports directly to Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
The carrier and embarked air wing, along with the other ships in her battle group, will support operations over Iraq and Syria. She will also provide a range of flexible and adaptable capabilities to perform theater security cooperation efforts and maritime security operations aimed at increasing the French Navy’s interoperability with allies in the region.
The battle group left its homeport of Toulon, France, Nov. 18.
Escorting Charles de Gaulle are the French air defense destroyer Chevalier Paul (D621); the French anti-submarine frigate La Motte-Picquet (D645); the Belgian anti-submarine frigate Leopold Ier (F930); the German anti-submarine frigate Augsburg (F213); and the French command and supply ship Marne (A630).
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. NAVCENT’s mission is to conduct maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and strengthen partner nation’s maritime capabilities in order to promote security and stability in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO.