After entering the South China Sea, the ships of the JEANNE D’ARC mission (namely the Mistral-class LHD Tonnerre and the La Fayette-class Frigate Surcouf), conducted a joint patrol with the Australian ships of Task Group (TG) 635.1, the first-in-class frigate HMAS Anzac and the supply ship HMAS Sirius.
This interaction took place a few days after the multinational exercise LA PÉROUSE.
The purpose of the joint sailing was twofold: First, the two navies had the opportunity to strengthen their ability to operate together. Secondly, France and Australia were able to reaffirm their respective commitment to the free movement of ships in this area.
French Navy statement
First, the Sirius refuelled the two French ships. Then the four warships conducted various manoeuvres such as tactical evolutions (EVOLEX) and cross-aircraft manoeuvres (CROSSDECK). The Seahawk helicopter from the frigate Anzac landed on the LHD Tonnerre. The four ships of Task Groups 625.1 and 635.1 conducted their patrol as planned.
This coordinated patrol illustrates the high level of cooperation between the French and Australian navies. This cooperation is part of the continuation of the strategic partnership, signed in February 2019 in Canberra, by the French and Australian Ministers of the Armed Forces.