2002 French nuclear Aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle

The French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle participated in the Afganistan Enduring Freedom campaign under the French name 'Mission Heracles'. Together with the French naval Task Force 473 it operated Super Etendards (11f and 17F), Rafales (12F), two Dauphin (35F), Hawkeyes (4F), two army Pumas (5RHC) and different helicopters.

On July 1st 2002 Task Force 473 arrived back to its homeport at Toulon. At this time the Task Force consisted of: the Tanker Somme, Support ship Jules Verne, Frigate Cassard (1x Panther ASW helicopter), nuclear submarine Saphir, Frigate La Motte-Picquet (2x Lynx helicopter), Frigate La Fayette (1x Panther ASW helicopter).

I managed to witness the launch of the fly past aircraft consisting of 9 Super Etendards, 1 Hawkeye and 4 Rafales while the carrier was still out on sea. After which I viewed the Task Force embarking in the harbor and the helciopters and aircraft perform a formation flypast for the French president.  

Photographs were made form quite some distance and with an analogue camera; therefore these do not have a high quality standard - nevertheless an interesting and quite unique event.

back to military aircraft main page
back to 2002