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Rafales Trap Aboard 'Big E'

Rafales Trap Aboard 'Big E'

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jamica C. Johnson, USS Enterprise Public Affairs. July 25, 2007. Source : US Navy.

Aboard USS Enterprise ( (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) (Big E) was a part of history July 23, when two French multi-role combat fighter Rafale M aircraft trapped and launched aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier for the first time.

More than 30 U.S. and French diplomats came aboard to witness the event, including Commander U.S. 6th Fleet Vice Adm. John Stufflebeem, U.S. Ambassador to France Craig Stapleton, Chief of French Naval Staff Admiral Oudot de Dainville, and the CEO of Dassault Aviation (builder of Rafale) Serge Dassault.

A French Rafale M combat aircraft performs a catapult-assisted launch from the flight deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). The Rafale is the first French aircraft to both launch and recover on an American carrier. Enterprise and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 are currently underway on a scheduled six-month deployment.

U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon Morris.

 U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon Morris

U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon Morris.

U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon Morris

According to Stapleton, this was a momentous occasion in cooperation between the U.S. and French navies.

“Being that this is the first time a U.S. aircraft carrier has been in France in six years it’s important, and also I believe it’s the first time French fighter pilots have been able to land onboard the deck of an American aircraft carrier, this is an important moment in U.S. History,” said Stapleton.

After the Rafales landed, the fighter pilots and guests joined Carrier Strike Group 12/Enterprise Strike Group Commander Rear Adm. Daniel Holloway and Enterprise Commanding Officer Capt. Ron Horton in the flag mess for refreshments.

The distinguished visitors were given a tour of the Enterprise, as well as taking time out to talk with some of Big E’s flight deck and hangar bay crew.

This engagement was a large step for Enterprise and a step in the right direction for the Chief of Naval Operation’s vision of a “1,000-ship navy.”

“This certainly projected the importance of naval power and hopefully will increase cooperation between the French navy and the American Navy,” said Stapleton.

Enterprise is currently on a regularly scheduled six-month deployment as the flag ship for Carrier Strike Group 12.

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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).