The “Charles-de-Gaulle” is expected Friday in Brest (Finistère), the port where it was launched in 1994. The French aircraft carrier and its escort are to participate, in the north of Scotland, in the NATO Joint Warrior combined exercise.
It has been ten years since the carrier strike group had not been deployed in the North Sea and especially in the North Atlantic, an area where Russian submarines have been cruising with increased activity in recent years, according to western navies.
At the end of 2019, a dozen Russian submarines, eight of which were nuclear, were engaged for two months in maneuvers in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea, the largest Russian submarine operation since the Cold War.
As part of the Foch mission started in January in the eastern Mediterranean, the operation will continue in the north of Scotland until April. According to the Navy, it aims to “deepen the knowledge of the areas crossed and contribute to the stabilization of the Euro-Mediterranean and Euro-Atlantic area”.
This mission, which involves European allied means, including German, Belgian, Spanish and Portuguese frigates, “marks France’s commitment to the security of Europe and the stability of its approaches, by deploying in these strategic waters an important naval force ”, continues the Navy.
The 261 m long nuclear aircraft carrier was due to arrive in Brest at the end of the day. He will remain in the naval base until his departure Monday morning.
Due to the strengthening of measures to fight the coronavirus, access to the building during its stopover in Brest was prohibited to all visitors, said the maritime prefecture.