A Rather Odd Sight

by Steve on April 14, 2007


ARABIAN SEA (April 12, 2007) – A French Super-Etendard from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier French Navy Ship Charles de Gaulle (R 91) performs a touch-and-go landing on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Stennis, as part of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, and Charles de Gaulle, the flagship of Commander, Task Force 473, are operating in the North Arabian Sea. Stennis and Charles de Gaulle are conducting bilateral exercises and supporting multi-national ground forces in Afghanistan. U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Logico (RELEASED)

That has to be a different sight from the LSO platform. Frankly it surprises me that the French continue to fund and operate a Navy – they never seem to do much with it.

I got thumped by a Super E once. I was in the co-pilot’s seat of a Viking and we were flying a Harpoon simulation against one of the French ships involved in a NATO exercise. We were down low, trying to sneak in closer to the target when my side of the cockpit got rather dark for a moment. I looked up from my scope just as the Super E flashed past and dumped down in front of us momentarily before pulling and climbing. We got a good dose of his jet wash which was thrilling in a bad sort of way given our lack of altitude.


SJBill April 16, 2007 at 19:41

Same number of French tailhooks are down as were with Brazilian and Argentine Stoofs on the Reagan.

The last thing our guys wish of for those birds to stop, and then have to shoot them off the pointy end. The Etendard needs a bridle, and ’tis doubtful we have a stash of that hardware.

Ondah udderhand, it would have been slick to see the Rafale go through her paces. That’s a very nice ship. I guess the Frenchies build them to sell them.


Skippy-san May 3, 2007 at 7:29

I would submit that the French are using their Navy-as a means to pursue their own foreign policy. The Foreign Legion and the French Army are involved in Africa, the French Air Force used to fly in Afghanistan and the French Navy participates actively in CFMCC interdiction missions in cooperation with Fifth Fleet.

They just are not involved in Iraq, which in hindsight seems like a pretty wise foreign policy choice. Having a Navy helped them to be able to be independent of the other powers-and it lets them show the French flag for their Arms sales industry. In other words they are using their Navy exactly they way they want to. I’ll bet more than a few RN officers would kill to have a ship like CDG.

Steve May 3, 2007 at 22:04

Good point, Skippy. Hell of a marketing program!

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