Pictures: 1st Phase of French Navy Chesapeake Deployment in the United States


Since early April, nearly 350 French Navy sailors and their aircraft are deployed in the Norfolk area, home of the Carrier Air Wing 8. As the first (land-based) phase of Chesapeake mission 2018 comes to an end, the Marine Nationale (French Navy) released several pictures showing how its "sailors of the sky" maintain their skills and confirm their high level of interoperability with their American allies.


Chesapeake 2018 Marine Nationale US Navy Pictures 026 Joint training flight between a U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet and two French Navy Rafale M. Norfolk area, April 26, 2018. Marine Nationale Picture


Following nearly a month of deployment, many joint flights have already been conducted. According to the French Navy, by April 26th, a total of 190 sorties had already been completed (meaning 360 flight hours). These operational trainings cover the full spectrum of typical carrier aviation missions: air combat, area defense, anti-surface warfare (anti-ship) and close air support (of troops on the ground). These flights will continue throughout the deployment and their difficulty will increase, including during the period on board the US aircraft carrier.

As with any operational deployment, the success of flights largely depends on the work of the technicians. All specialties are present to ensure the smooth running of the activity: avionics, aircraft handlers, ordnancemen (known as "boom" in the French navy), computer scientists etc. The challenge is simple for these sailors: to make sure, as they do on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, that the aircraft are available for the mission and that no problem occur during their preparation and implementation.

The adaptation is permanent because each detail counts to keep pace with the flights. For example, it was necessary to reorganize the "hot refueling" maneuver (refueling while the engines are running) because French Rafale M and American F-18 are refueled on opposite sides.

The ordnancemen of the airborne group are busy as well: Every day, they prepare the Rafale M according to  the upcoming training mission. The twenty or so "boomers" deployed in the United States are doing a job quite similar to the one they are used to do in France. More than 300 shells were fired during joint training with US pilots as well as several Laser Guided Training Round bombs (LGTRs).


A Rafale M takes off from the Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana near Norfolk, April 25, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleArrival of the French Navy E-2C Hawkeye at Naval Air Station (NAS) Norfolk. In the foreground, a U.S. Navy E-2C Hawkeye. April 6, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleFrench Crew-members from the E-2C Hawkeye arriving at Naval Air Station (NAS) Norfolk. April 6, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleThe French Navy E-2C Hawkeye at Naval Air Station (NAS) Norfolk. In the foreground, a U.S. Navy C-2A Greyhound. April 27, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine Nationale
French Rafale M and American F-18 pilots attend a briefing before a joint flight training at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana.  April 23, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleFrench Rafale M and American F-18 pilots attend a briefing before a joint flight training at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana.  April 23, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleTwo aeronautical maintenance technicians prepare a Rafale M, before its training mission at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana. April 23, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleFrench and American sailors chat in a hangar at Naval Air Station (NAS) Chambers, Norfolk. April 27, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleA French Aeronautical technician gives directions to move the French E-2C Hawkeye into a hangar at Naval Air Station (NAS) Chambers, Norfolk. April 27, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleCapitaine de Frégate (Commander) Marc Bourdilleau, commander of the Air Group's Expertise Center (CENTEX Gaé), on its way to introduce the French Rafale M fighter to a group of American sailors at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana.April 12, 2018.. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleA French sailor introduces the Rafale M to crew-members from U.S. Navy aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana. April 12, 2018.. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleA French sailor introduces the Rafale M to crew-members from U.S. Navy aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana. April 12, 2018.. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleA French sailor introduces the Rafale M to crew-members from U.S. Navy aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana. April 12, 2018.. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleA Rafale M on final approach during Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) at Naval Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress, in Chesapeake, Virginia. April 16, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleA French E-2C performing a wave-off maneuver by applying full thrust during Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) at Naval Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress, in Chesapeake, Virginia. April 16, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleTwo landing officers follow the final approach of a French E-2C Hawkeye during Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) at Naval Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress, in Chesapeake, Virginia. April 17, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleTwo landing officers follow the final approach of a Rafale M during Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) at Naval Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress, in Chesapeake, Virginia. April 17, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleA Rafale M touches down during Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) at Naval Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress, in Chesapeake, Virginia. April 17, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleTwo Rafale Ms and two F-18s fly over Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, returning from an operational flight training. April 17, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleTwo Rafale Ms and three F-18s fly over Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, returning from an operational flight training. April 17, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleTwo Rafale Ms and three F-18s fly over Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, returning from an operational flight training. April 17, 2018. ©Florent Le Bihan/Marine NationaleA U.S. Navy F-18, in Training flight between a French E-2C Hawkeye, an American F-18 and two Rafale M (and an American Hawkeye off image). Norfolk area, April 23, 2018. ©Marine NationaleTraining flight between an American F-18 and two Rafale M. Norfolk area, April 23, 2018. ©Marine NationaleTraining flight between an American F-18 and two Rafale M. Norfolk area, April 23, 2018. ©Marine NationaleOrdnancemen install a Laser Guided Training Round (LGTR) on a Rafale M at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana. May 04, 2018.  ©Marine NationaleOrdnancemen install a Laser Guided Training Round (LGTR) on a Rafale M at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana. April 30, 2018.  ©Marine NationaleMeanwhile at Toulon naval base in France: The mid-life refit of Charles de Gaulle is almost over: The aircraft carrier's hull has been fully repainted. ©Simon Ghesquiere/Marine NationaleMeanwhile at Toulon naval base in France: The mid-life refit of Charles de Gaulle is almost over: The aircraft carrier's hull has been fully repainted. ©Simon Ghesquiere/Marine NationaleMeanwhile at Toulon naval base in France: The mid-life refit of Charles de Gaulle is almost over: The aircraft carrier's hull has been fully repainted. ©Simon Ghesquiere/Marine Nationale


The second phase of Chesapeake Mission 2018 is about to start. It will take place at sea aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Georges H. W. Bush.

The aircraft carrier left Norfolk naval base on May 7th. The Marine Nationale airwing started carrier qualifications today. It will then be deployed on the aircraft carrier for a couple of weeks, conducting a set of complex exercises with U.S. Navy aircraft.


Cookies settings

×

Functional Cookies

This site uses cookies to ensure its proper functioning and cannot be deactivated from our systems. We don't use them not for advertising purposes. If these cookies are blocked, some parts of the site will not work.

Session

Please login to see yours activities!

Other cookies

This website uses a number of cookies to manage, for example: user sessions.