USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS), April 10, 2015 -- French and U.S. sailors have been conducting combat operations together in the Middle East since February as a part of Operation Inherent Resolve to degrade and ultimately defeat the terrorist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Rear Adm. Eric Chaperon, French Task Force 473 commander, and Rear Adm. Chris Grady, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group commander and Commander Task Force 50, met aboard French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle (R-91) April 8 to discuss interoperability and integration between the two navies.
"We operated with the USS Harry S. Truman last year for exercises,"
said Chaperon. "This year it is for real combat operations. Compared to last year, we have achieved much progress in integration (with Carl Vinson), specifically in the areas of logistics, computer information systems and intelligence."
The Charles De Gaulle and Carl Vinson strike groups fly more than 100 combined total sorties a day, with Charles De Gaulle flying 15 combat sorties a day using her Super-Etendard and Rafale fighter jet aircraft. Carl Vinson flies up to 25 combat sorties a day. The balance of sorties are high-end training to sharpen pilot skills.
"It has been a great honor to work with Rear Adm. Chaperon and his team over the past six weeks," said Grady. "The highlight of our deployment thus far has been the integration with the Charles De Gaulle strike group, and we now have a model we can look to as we respond to other contingencies around the world."
Charles De Gaulle has taken on many aspects of operations during its time in the region. Its carrier strike group assumed the primary role of combat support during periods of maintenance, replenishment-at-sea or port visit opportunities for Carl Vinson.
The French carrier will assume primary operational duty when the Carl Vinson and Theodore Roosevelt Strike Groups conduct turnover in the coming days, Chaperon said.
"The interoperability between our two navies is meaningful for the future in burden sharing and common contribution to high-intensity operations," Chaperon stated. "Our interoperability is about equipment, know-how and procedures. But it is also about common knowledge, trust and friendship."
Grady also pointed out the many benefits of dual-carrier operations between the two navies.
"While we have very been successful in the tactical realm, the merging of the two strike groups and the synergies that two maritime powers bring to Operation Inherent Resolve also has immense operational and strategic benefits," he stated.
"Maritime striking power off the deck of an aircraft carrier provides our government leadership with off-shore options," Grady continued.
"About a third of the tactical sorties flown in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, half of the command and control sorties and nearly all of the electronic attack sorties come from the Navy. We bring quite a punch indeed. At the outset of Operation Inherent Resolve, power projection from the sea was the only option because no permissions from partner nations are required to act from 98,000 tons and 4.5 acres of sovereign U.S. territory."
The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.
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