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Clemenceau class - Operations

From the very beginning of the crisis in Kosovo and throughout its course, the aircraft carrier Foch was at the heart of the French system in the Adriatic. Its deployment was a strong political gesture intended to show the determination of France, including during the Rambouillet negotiations. Involved in Operation "Trident" from 26 January to 3 June 1999, the Carrier Group conducted maritime operations and participated in the air campaign which began on 23 March.

Thanks to its ability to deploy rapidly and without any diplomatic hindrance, the carrier group was pre-positioned in the Adriatic as of January 26, 1999. The aircraft carrier Foch and the nuclear attack submarine (SNA) Were able to occupy a strategic position as of this date before the coasts of Montenegro. This close positioning, at the limit of the range of the Serbian coastal batteries, ie 50 nautical, allowed a very reactivity which was exploited by NATO when necessary, for assault missions, reconnaissance or Of RESCO (search and rescue of combat). Its role and positioning were all the more important in that the United States and the British did not maintain aircraft carriers throughout the conflict in the Ionian Sea because of their oversight missions, Iraqi airspace.

The Naval Aviation Group (GAN) has been able to control the entire airmobile environment by blocking the enemy naval forces at the port, Thanks to the ANS prohibiting the Yugoslav navy from leaving the Kotor Mouth and the air space thanks to anti-aircraft means. This surveillance strategy, combined with an instant retaliation capability, was based primarily on Task Force 470 (NATO name of the French GAN in this operation) capable of operating as close as possible to the objectives and having a good knowledge of the theater where It had been cruising for more than two months at the time of the air strikes.

In addition, the logistic autonomy of the GAN , provided by the petroleum supply unit ( Meuse ) - workshop vessel ( Jules Verne ), was particularly appreciated. In terms of in - flight refueling , Autonomy of the on-board air group greatly simplified the task of the allies, while flight and refueling procedures were very complex, ground-based aircraft in northern Italy had to follow a downward route to Serbia, refueling over The Adriatic then carry out their mission and return by carrying out when necessary a second refueling. It should be noted that refueling missions accounted for 21% of Alliance missions and assault missions 28%. However, the aircraft on board had only recourse to their own tankers after the catapult and were much faster on the area since the aircraft carrier was located opposite Serbia.

The carrier group also demonstrated its perfect inter-allied interoperability by integrating throughout the crisis a British anti-submarine frigate (the Somerset and the Grafton ). It was the first time since the Crimean War that a British ship was under French tactical command. In addition, the aircraft carrier Foch has embarked German helicopters. He thus participated without difficulty in the NATO procedures for the management of airspace. As such, significant progress has been made since the Gulf War, during which French naval aeronautics could not take part in the operations, The aircraft carrier Clemenceau being used as a helicopter carrier and transport of troops and then maintained in the Mediterranean.

Beyond its operational interest, the carrier group has maintained national control over the rules of engagement. The means of the air group remained under command and operational control French. Only tactical control was awarded to the Air Component Commander for the execution of the ATO (Air Task Order) missions pursuant to a contract with the Combined Air Operation Center (CAOC). The means necessary for the accomplishment of its own national tasks can thus be preserved, including within the framework of a coalition. The carrier group has maintained national control over the rules of engagement . The means of the air group remained under command and operational control French. Only tactical control was awarded to the Air Component Commander for the execution of the ATO (Air Task Order) missions pursuant to a contract with the Combined Air Operation Center (CAOC). The means necessary for the accomplishment of its own national tasks can thus be preserved, including within the framework of a coalition.

The carrier group maintained national control over the rules of engagement . The means of the air group remained under command and operational control French. Only tactical control was awarded to the Air Component Commander for the execution of the ATO (Air Task Order) missions pursuant to a contract with the Combined Air Operation Center (CAOC). The means necessary for the accomplishment of its own national tasks can thus be preserved, including within the framework of a coalition. ATO (Air Task Order) under a contract with the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC). The means necessary for the accomplishment of its own national tasks can thus be preserved, including within the framework of a coalition. ATO (Air Task Order) under a contract with the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC). The means necessary for the accomplishment of its own national tasks can thus be preserved, including within the framework of a coalition.

Forth fully used for four months, the capabilities of the Foch aircraft carrier came to an end before the end of the crisis, especially due to the limited potential of steam catapults that required a refit. The impossibility of relaying the Foch, bound to return to Toulon, illustrates the consequences, in case of crisis, of the absence of a second carrier. The use of an aircraft carrier almost continuously for some 130 days, however, was the longest deployment to the Foch Sea since its launch in 1963 and has shown that only one carrier remains capable of Important tasks.

The main missions carried out by the carriers Clemenceau and Foch

MissionDates and durationContent of the mission
ALFA 1966-1968 (Clemenceau 9 months - Foch 9 months) Ensuring the safety and conduct of nuclear testing in the Pacific
SAPHIR I June to December 1977-1978 (Clemenceau then Foch 8 months) Commitment and protection of Djibouti's independence
SAPHIR II October 1974 - March 1975 (Clemenceau 6 months) Commitment and protection of Djibouti's independence
OLIFANT 1982-1984 (Foch then Clemenceau) Support for French contingents deployed in Lebanon
MIRMILLON September to November 1984 (Foch) Dissuade Libya to attack during dismantling of MANTA air-land operation
PROMETHEUS July 1987 - September 1988 (Clemenceau 13 months) Protecting merchant maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Hormuz during the Iran-Iraq conflict
CAPSELLE August-September 1989 Protecting the possible evacuation of nationals off Lebanon
SALAMANDER August to October 1990 (Clemenceau in helicopter carrier version) Protection of the Gulf countries after the invasion of Kuwait and participation in the liberation of the country
OSPREY Since February 1993 (Clemenceau and Foch) Ensure the security of the French elements of UNPROFOR and facilitate the possible disengagement of the forces on land
Since February 1994 Be able to carry out the air strikes ordered by the UN
SALAMANDER Clemenceau and Foch in 1996 Took over from Balbuzard to the creation of the SFOR (Dayton agreements)
TRIDENT Foch in October and November 1998 and from January to May 1999 Ensure the safety of French elements of KFOR. To be able to execute NATO-ordered air strikes
MYRRH Deployment in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean Foch from January to April 2000 Presence, cooperation, support for commercial action



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Page last modified: 09-04-2017 16:01:36 ZULU