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French Navy Rafale M Fighters to Train with a US Navy Aircraft Carrier in April 2018
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French Navy (Marine Nationale) Rafale M fighters will fly to the United States in April 2018 in order to conduct training and carrier qualifications from a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. The announcement came when the U.S Navy Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson met his French counterpart, Chief of Staff of the French Navy (CEMM) Adm. Christophe Prazuck on December 6th in Paris.
 
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Naval Forces News - France, USA
 
 
 
French Navy Rafale M Fighters to Train with a US Navy Aircraft Carrier in April 2018
 
French Navy (Marine Nationale) Rafale M fighters will fly to the United States in April 2018 in order to conduct training and carrier qualifications from a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. The announcement came when the U.S Navy Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson met his French counterpart, Chief of Staff of the French Navy (CEMM) Adm. Christophe Prazuck on December 6th in Paris.
     
MEDDITERRANEAN SEA (Dec. 8, 2016) French navy Rafale Marine aircraft from the aircraft carrier FS Charles De Gaulle (R91) fly in formation above the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike). Ike, currently deployed as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher A. Michaels)
     
The reason for this combined training is because France's sole aircraft carrier, the Charles De Gaulle, is currently in dry dock for a major refit (its mid-life refit or ATM2 in French) since February 2017 and won't be launched until the Summer of 2018 (major refits take 18 months on average).

Contacted by Navy Recognition, a French Navy PAO could not provide the exact dates or the US Navy aircraft carrier name. The PAO explained that details are still being worked out between the two navies.
     
Rafale M French Navy US Navy CVN 1ARABIAN GULF (Jan. 13, 2014) A Rafale aircraft, assigned to the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) during carrier qualification integration. Harry S. Truman, part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, is conducting operations with units assigned to French Task Force 473 to enhance levels of cooperation and interoperability, enhance mutual maritime capabilities and promote long-term regional stability in the U.S. Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karl Anderson/Released)
     
It would not be the first time Rafale Ms are launched and recovered from a U.S CVN, far from it. The US Navy and French Navy are used to demonstrate their interoperabilty and Rafale M fighters have landed and launched several times already, almost on a yearly basis, from US flat tops. The most recent examples are:
- December 2016, a French Navy airwing crossed deck with USS Dwight D. Eisenhower while underway in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
- March 2015
when the two allied navies tested, implemented and improved their interoperability while on theatre and while actively engaged in combat missions in the Gulf.
- In January 2014, the same type of training happened as well, while on theatre.
     
Rafale M French Navy US Navy CVN 2MEDITERRANEAN SEA (June 4, 2010) A French navy maintenance team, assigned to Rafale squadron 12F, conducts an engine swap-out aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) as part of interoperability operations with the French navy. Harry S. Truman is deployed as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Montgomery/Released)
     
Earlier, in June 2010, during an exercise on USS Harry S. Truman, a French Rafale became the first jet fighter of a foreign navy to have its engine replaced on board an American aircraft carrier. In 2008 six Rafales from Flottille 12F integrated into the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Air Wing interoperability exercise. In july 2007 two Rafale M conducted touch and go, traps, and catapult launch maneuvers with USS Enterprise off the French Riviera.
     
US Navy CNO Admiral Richardson and Chief of French Navy Admiral PrazuckAdmiral John Richardson, US Chief of Naval Operations (left) meeting with Admiral Christophe Prazuck, Chief of Staff of the French Navy (right) in Paris. French Navy picture.
     
During his visit to France, CNO Richardson attended a co-operative meeting at the French Navy headquarters to review the strategic issues between the Marine Nationale and the U.S. Navy.

From October 16 to 28, the Horizon-class Forbin air defense frigate was integrated into the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) carrier strike group, as part of Exercise Bold Alligator. This exercise, in which France has participated since 2012, contributes to enriching the operational cooperation of the French armed forces and reinforcing the interoperability of the two navies. The French Navy Mistral-class LHD Tonerre is currently deployed in the "Bois Belleau 100" mission with 60 US Marines aboard.

During their meeting, Admiral Prazuck awarded Admiral Richardson the Officer's insignia of the Legion of Honour (the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte).
     
Rafale M French Navy US Navy CVN 3Naval Air Station Landivisiau (in Britanny where all Rafale Ms are based) hosted a specific training to maintain the qualifications of sailors working on the flight deck and in the hangars of the aircraft carrier. French Navy picture.
     
Meanwhile the French Navy naval aviation maintains a high level of training.

From 27 November to 1 December 2017, the Naval Air Station Landivisiau (in Britanny where all Rafale Ms are based) hosted a specific training to maintain the qualifications of sailors working on the flight deck and in the hangars of the aircraft carrier. This operational training, called Carrier Weeks, aims to recreate the precise space of the flight deck of the Charles de Gaulle, and to train all personnel responsible for the implementation of aircraft, under near-actual conditions.

Earlier this year, French Navy Rafale Ms were forward deployed in Jordan to fly combat mission against Daech.
     
US Navy CNO Admiral Richardson and Chief of French Navy Admiral Prazuck 2During their meeting, Admiral Prazuck awarded Admiral Richardson the Officer's insignia of the Legion of Honour (the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte).. French Navy picture.