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Ike, French Carrier Work Together During Multinational Maritime Exercise

Ike, French Carrier Work Together During Multinational Maritime Exercise

By Journalist 2nd Class Paul Simonds, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs.

Aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (NNS) -- May 26, 2005 -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) opened her flight deck to the French navy May 25 during Multi-National Maritime Exercise (MNME) 05-1.

A French Navy Rafale M multi-role combat fighter from the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle performs a touch-and-go landing aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), during the Multi-National Maritime Exercise (MNME) 05-1. More than 17,000 Sailors from the U.S., Canada, France, Great Britain and Spain participated in the exercise. MNME 05-1 is an exercise focused on multi-national maritime interoperability capabilities in support of NATO Response Force (NRF). NRF combines elite land, air, sea, special operations, and mission specific units into a single force that can be deployed anywhere in the world in five days and sustain itself on a wide range of missions. NRF is scheduled to be fully in place by 2006.

Atlantic Ocean, May 25, 2005 French Navy Rafale M multi-role combat fighter from the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle performs a touch-and-go landing aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). U.S. Navy photo by Airman Peter Carnicelli.

U.S. Navy photo by Airman Peter Carnicelli

A multi-role strike fighter Rafale M jet performed landings, and an E-2C Hawkeye from the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle (R 91) trapped and launched from Ike’s deck during MNME 05-1. It is the first time in more than four years Ike has worked with multinational forces.

A French E-2C Hawkeye from the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle (R 91) lands on the USS Eisenhower (CVN 69). French Navy Photo.

A French E-2C Hawkeye lands on the USS Eisenhower. (French Navy Photo)

Ike, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Carrier Strike Group and other U.S. Navy units are representing the United States as all five countries conduct coalition strike training, tactical air cross-deck training, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and related unit training events.

For Ike to be a participant in such a multinational exercise is historic, in the sense that the warship has only been to sea five times since completing her four-year, mid-life overhaul. Not since 2001, when Ike last completed a Mediterranean cruise, has the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier taken on an active role with NATO forces.

Ike’s role in MNME 05-1 was to provide a platform for allied navies to use as the United States and other countries continue to build relationships, which are vital to the overall success of any military operation. In addition to fixed wing operations, French Puma and Dauphin helicopters also landed aboard Ike.

Ike also hosted 15 French Sailors for a 24-hour period. The French Sailors were able to tour most of the ship, including the gyms, ship’s stores, various work centers, the bridge, primary flight control and the flight deck during flight operations.

USS Eisenhower and French Carrier Charles de Gaulle (French Navy Photo).

USS Eisenhower and French Carrier Charles de Gaulle (French Navy Photo)

“I was very impressed because there was so much activity,” said Petty Officer Sebastien Laurent of Charles De Gaulle from Normandy, France. “There is always aircraft flying, landing and launching — it never stops.”

Laurent said he and his French shipmates were amazed at the complexity of Ike, since De Gaulle is not as compartmentalized as U.S. aircraft carriers. De Gaulle has two catapults and holds 40 aircraft, so the French Sailors were amazed at Ike’s size.

“It’s very, very big. It’s three times bigger than the De Gaulle,” said Laurent. “I think it’s very great.”

Lt. Cmdr. Jason Rimmer was one of three Ike crew members, in addition to eight Carrier Air Wing 7 representatives, who flew over to De Gaulle to experience how their French ally conducts carrier operations, and to offer assistance regarding the launching and recovery of several U.S. Navy aircraft, including an F/A-18 Hornet, E-2C Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound. This was the first time an F/A-18 landed aboard De Gaulle.

An F-18 lands for the first time on the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. French Navy Photo.

French Navy Photo

“I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the Charles De Gaulle and the chance to participate in joint operations with the two navies,” said Rimmer. “Their commanding officer put it best, saying that he hoped this exercise would prove our interoperability and readiness for tasking wherever and whenever. The French were excellent hosts and extremely professional operators.”

As Ike continues to move forward toward becoming surge ready under the Fleet Response Plan, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will take on a more active role in exercises such as MNME 05-1.

For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).