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French Navy Frigate Assumed Command of USS Theodore Roosevelt Air Defense.

| 2018

On January 26, 2018, the French Navy (Marine Nationale) Horizon-class Air Defense Frigate Chevalier Paul ended three weeks of participation in Operation Chammal* within the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group (CSG), deployed in the Arabian/Persian Gulf. During this period, the Carrier Strike Group 9 (CSG 9) carried out air support missions on the Iraqi-Syrian theater, as part of the operation Inherent Resolve against Daesh.

French Navy Frigate Assumed Command of USS Theodore Roosevelt Air DefenseChevalier Paul took command of the Roosevelt CSG's air defense and acted as Sector Air Defense Commander. French Navy picture.

Chevalier Paul served the duties of protecting the aircraft carrier and controlling its projected aircraft, usually assigned to an American cruiser (CG). A short ramp-up phase and reminder of CSG9 procedures allowed the French vessel to fully integrate into the group's operations and achieve full interoperability.

On January 19th , Chevalier Paul took  the command of the CSG's air defense. Thanks to its advanced sensors and efficient weapon systems, the crew was able to prevent any aggressive action that could hinder the proper implementation of the aircraft from the US aircraft carrier.

At the same time, Chevalier Paul assumed, as Sector Air Defense Commander, control of all aircraft transiting the area for the benefit of the Arabian-Persian Gulf air defense under US command of the United States Air Forces Central Command. Finally, its NH90 helicopter participated in the surveillance of the area against possible asymmetric threats.

These missions are one of France's direct contributions to the Combined Operation Inherent Resolve, and have allowed the Chevalier Paul crew to maintain its know-how in air defense in a dense tactical environment.

*Opération Chammal is the name of the French military operation which is currently ongoing in Iraq and Syria in an attempt to contain the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and to support the Iraqi Army. Its name comes from the Shamal (Chammal in French), a northwesterly wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf states.

Our video report aboard French Navy Frigate Chevalier Paul, recorded in December 2016.

The Horizon-class destroyers (classified as frigates in the French Navy) are multi-role surface combatants specialized in air defence. There are two vessels of this class in the French Navy, Forbin and Chevalier Paul both built by French shipyard DCNS (the vessels were launched in March 2005 and July 2006 respectively, and commissioned in 2008 and 2009).

The main mission of Chevalier Paul is to provide an air-defence umbrella, protecting high value units (typically a carrier strike group or amphibious ready group). The main threats Horizon-class destroyers may deal with are both supersonic anti-ship missiles and strike aircraft. Another major mission for the vessel is assuming Command and Control (C&C) tasks within the airspace of an operational area. This mission encompasses all C&C capabilities in the area of air defence and traffic, and the fulfillment of C&C tasks within a coalition maritime force.

To learn more, read our full report about Chevalier Paul we published two years ago following the chance we had to spend time aboard with the crew.

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