Feb 24, 2015
French Charles de Gaulle Aircraft Carrier Launches first attacks in Gulf against ISIS
Four Rafale fighter jets took off in the morning from the carrier as it sailed about 200 kilometers (120 miles) off the coast north of Bahrain in the direction of Iraq.
The Charles de Gaulle left its base in Toulon on Jan. 13 for a five-month mission that will include eight weeks in the Gulf working alongside the USS Carl Vinson as part of the coalition launched after IS seized swathes of Syria and Iraq last year.
The French carrier is then to travel to India, where it is due to take part in exercises in mid-April.
Carrying 12 Rafale and nine Super Etendard fighters, the carrier will significantly increase French air capabilities in the region.
France has nine Rafales in the United Arab Emirates and six Mirage fighters in Jordan operating in Iraq, along with a maritime patrol and a refueling aircraft.
The warship's deployment will cut in half the time it takes for planes to reach Iraq for strikes against IS from the base in the UAE.
The Charles de Gaulle strike group also includes an attack submarine, a French anti-aircraft frigate and the HMS Kent, a British anti-submarine frigate.
It arrived in the Gulf on Feb. 15 after a month of operations in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.