Baku, November 23, AZERTAC
France’s only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, is to leave Toulon for the Gulf on Wednesday to ease the burden on its warplanes already operating against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, according to the Guardian.
France has 12 planes operating against Isis targets from bases in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. The carrier will add another 20.
The Charles de Gaulle, Europe’s biggest carrier, will also fill in a gap in US aircraft deployment, with the USS Theodore Roosevelt scheduled to leave the region soon and the USS Harry Truman not due to arrive until early next year.
President François Hollande said on Monday that the Charles de Gaulle would bolster French firepower in the region. “The aircraft carrier will enable us to be more efficient in coordination with our allies,” he said.
While the dispatch of the nuclear-powered carrier to the Gulf in the wake of the Paris attacks is a powerful symbolic gesture, it does not represent a change in strategy on the part of the US-led coalition, which remains committed to air power alone and resistant to sending in combat troops.
The deployment of the Charles de Gaulle was announced on 5 November. Nick de Larrinaga, Europe editor of IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, said: “The deployment is not a response to the tragic events in Paris on Friday. It is to relieve the pressure on the 12 planes in the region.”