Forward Deployed French, British Fighters

Rafale F3 fighters line up on the deck of the French Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaule. Photo: EMA Marine Nationale

Coalition air forces today deployed additional naval aviation and air forces units to bases near Libya, enabling highet operational tempo and faster response to development on the ground.

French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) photographed from USS Mount Whitney on March 21, 2011, in the Mediterranean Sea. Charles de Gaulle was operating in support of the coalition led operations in response to the crisis in Libya. Mount Whitney is operating in support of Joint Task Force (JTF) Odyssey Dawn. Photo: U.S. Navy by Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Viramontes


A French E-2C Hawkeye lands on the Charles de Gaule during final training exercise held on board the carrier yesterday. Phoro: EMA / Marine nationale

The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has deployed to its area of operation with its full air group including F3 Rafale, Upgraded Super Etendard attack aircraft, E-2C airborne warning and control aircraft and EC-735 SAR helicopters. Part of the carrier group are the frigates Dupleix and Aconite and naval replenishment/tanker vessel Meuse. Two additional frigates the Forbin andJean Bart are already deployed in theater, supporting the coalition effort surface and aerial surveillance assisting the enforcement of the ‘No Fly Zone’. From its planned position in the Southern Mediterranean, the French aircraft carrier will provide coalition air forces a forward operating bans close to the Libyan coast, improving the response capability of coalition air power. The French carrier has recently completed a four month deployment in the Indian Ocean.

Rafale F3 fighters line up on the deck of the French Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaule. Photo: EMA Marine Nationale

While the Navy aircraft areto assume operations from the aircraft carrier at sea, aircraft of the Air Force were initially operating from the French air bases in Avord, Nancy, St Dizier, Dijon. Air bases at Istres, and Evreux Orleans for supported logistical and refueling flights. Rafale fighters arrived today at the Solenzara air base in Corsica, supporting the intensive operation of coalition fighters in enforcing the ‘No Fly Zone’.

French Rafale F3 takes off from on a mission to Libya, March 19, 2011. The aircraft carries the Thales AREOS Reco NG, in addition to six MICA air/air missiles. This configuration enables the Rafale to perform both th ebattlefield recce and air defense role as part of the enforcement of the No Fly ZOne' over Libya. Photo: EMA ECPAd

RAF Typhoons have also deployed to a forward base in Gioia Del Colle in southern Italy. The Typhoons flew today their first operational sortie from a Deployed Operating Base. The aircraft, pilots and ground crew arrived here late on Sunday.

Op ELLAMY Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon deployed to Gioia Del Colle base in southern Italy. The fighters flew their first mission from the forward base on Monday 21. Tornado strike fighters which flew from RAF Marham on combat patrols over easter Libya have joined the Typhoons at the forward base upon completing their mission. Photo: MOD, Crown Copyright