French Naval Ships docked in Cyprus seas
  • Eyeballs shift towards Cyprus in anticipation
  • USS Ross also anchored at Limassol

By Chaitali Bag

Limmasol/Nicosia. Cyprus. 01 March 2022. The war which is the cynosure for the world today has not left any nation aloof. And Cyprus is no different. Yesterday the murmur through out the small but strategic island in the Mediterranean was that French aircraft were flying in the airspace. And after a few hours came the news that a French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has docked in Cyprus’ main port of Limassol. Just two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin asked it’s nuke force to be on high alert, this was serious news and anticipation of the worse. But the sign of relief came when the formal intimation was that the aircraft carrier was on a two-month deployment to the eastern Mediterranean.

French Naval Ships docked in Cyprus seas

And this is not the only one. Naval Group made Multi-mission frigate (FREMM) Normandie is at Larnaca port. American frigate USS Ross is also at Limassol port as part of the Clemenceau 22 mission. The carrier is escorted by two French frigates, a Greek frigate, a nuclear attack submarine and a supply ship. During its deployment, the Charles de Gaulle and its aircraft conducted a number of air and naval maneuvers with Cyprus’ National Guard.

Could have been just a matter of chance that the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle arrived in Limassol port to be a part of the joint training exercise with Cyprus National Guard. Cyprus’ Defence Minister Charalambos Petridis and National Guard Chief, Lieutenant General Democritos Zervakis met the Commander of the French Carrier Strike Group and the Commander of the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle aboard the ship.

French Naval Ships docked in Cyprus seas
Courtesy : French Carrier Strike Group Twitter

Mission Clemenceau 22, was planned as a joint exercise between French Charles de Gaulle, the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour (for the first time with F-35B) and the strike team of the American aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), which is currently in the Mediterranean. In the initial plan it was decided after the exercise Charles de Gaulle will sail on the Adriatic, while part of entourage will head to the Black Sea. The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its strike group have been re-tasked to support NATO post break off of Russian-Ukraine war.

In 2022, France is the framework nation of the NRF. The French armies command 2 of the 4 components (land and air) and, particularly reactive, contribute massively to NATO’s rapid reaction force, the VJTF, by providing 7,700 of the 20,000 men of this force, as well as only 6 combat aircraft, 1 ISR aircraft and 4 transport and assault aircraft. The units of the NATO Force Response (NRF) 2022 are all prepared for the eventual order. Following Russia’s declaration of war against Ukraine, NATO is strengthening its presence on the eastern flank of Europe . 

Navy submarine
Nuclear Submarine of Task Force 473

Task Force 473 is built around aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) and includes European Union, NATO and French partner nations during the deployment. French Navy ships in the task group along with Charles de Gaulle are destroyer FS Forbin (D620), frigates FS Alsace (D656) and FS Normandie (D651), replenishment ship FS Marne (A630) and a nuclear attack submarine. Partner ships integrated into the group are U.S. Navy destroyer USS Ross (DDG-71), Spanish Navy frigate ESPS Juan de Borbon (F102), Hellenic Navy frigate HS Adrias (F459) and Royal Moroccan Navy corvette Sultan Moulay Ismail (614). A Hellenic Navy submarine joined the task force .