Australian supply ship, HMAS Success, has supported a French Carrier Battle Group during a recent transit through the Gulf of Aden, providing logistic support.
Success, known affectionately as the Battle Tanker, was tasked to accompany the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its Task Force in February.
“Tactically, this was business as usual for Success. Strategically, however, working so intimately with Task Force 473 was a significant act of support by Australia for the French armed forces and the French government’s broader regional intent," said Commanding Officer Success, Captain Justin Jones.
Success cooperated with ships from different nations making up the Battle Group, including French ships Chevalier Paul, Guepratte and Meuse and the Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate HMS Kent. Success was also tasked to refuel FGS Lubeck as it made its farewells from the Gulf of Aden headed for home, to be replaced by FGS Bayern.
Success rendezvoused with French Ship Meuse, its same-of-class sister ship, for Commanding Officer discussions and handover of duties as the TF 473 Auxiliary Oil Replenishment ship. Success was assigned to support Commander TF 473, Vice-Admiral Chaperon.
While Success’s primary tasking was providing logistical support for the Battle Group, the ship’s company gained a front row seat for displays by the French Rafael Fighter Jet and Dauphine helicopter from the carrier Charles de Gaulle.
Success also conducted a dual replenishment at sea with French Ship Guepratte and HMS Kent; then French Ship Chevalier Paul and FGS Lubeck the following day. Replenishing Guepratte has special significance in the Centenary of Anzac year, noting that the French Squadron supporting the Gallipoli landings in April 1915 was commanded by Contre-Amiral (Commodore Equivalent) Guepratte, the so-called 'Fire Eater'.
HMAS Success’s integration with the Charles de Gaulle battle group ended with the Task Force’s arrival in Djibouti for a logistics visit. While the French force remained for five days, Success’s short visit centred on a fuel top-up, before continuing back on patrol.
Success will remain in the area on its Operation MANITOU deployment until May and continue to work with coalition Navies as part of the Combined Maritime Forces.