HMAS Darwin joins French Carrier Strike Group

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Kelli Lunt (author), ABIS Sarah Ebsworth (photographer)

HMAS Darwin conducts helicopter operations with an embarked helicopter from FNS Charles De Gaulle on February 25. (photo: ABIS Sarah Ebsworth)
HMAS Darwin conducts helicopter operations with an embarked helicopter from FNS Charles De Gaulle on February 25.

HMAS Darwin joined French Carrier Strike Group Charles de Gaulle for a passage exercise while on station in the Middle East.
 
Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said both countries were committed to providing security and stability in the region and that this was a significant opportunity to strengthen relations.

“During HMAS Darwin’s planned deployment on Operation MANITOU, we were able to coordinate an opportunity to provide escort, force protection support and ship-to-ship operations with the Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group over a three day period,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.

Darwin’s Commanding Officer, Commander Phillip Henry, said his crew relished the chance to exercise with the French Carrier Strike Group.

“We welcomed the opportunity to deepen our level of maritime interoperability with the French and to demonstrate the Australian Defence Force’s commitment to practical Defence cooperation in the region," he said.

Darwin’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Tina Brown, said the exercise also presented a unique opportunity for the crew to engage at an international level.

“There were opportunities for our sailors to visit Charles de Gaulle and other French ships to get a taste of life on board,” she said.

Australia and France have a strong defence relationship with frequent cooperation in the Asia Pacific.

Both nations contribute to the Combined Maritime Forces, the United States-led 31 nation partnership promoting security, stability and prosperity across the Middle East region.

Both countries are also leading contributors to international efforts in the Coalition fight against terrorist group Daesh.
 
Darwin's
 deployment is is the 62nd rotation of a Royal Australian Naval vessel in the region since 1990 and she replaced HMAS Melbourne earlier this month.