POLARIS is an unprecedented exercise focusing on high intensity combat. Half of the French Navy fleet will deploy to take part in it.
POLARIS is a major operational exercise meant to prepare forces for a high-intensity engagement.
This joint, combined and inter-theatre exercise will involve 6,000 French troops from the French Army, Navy and Air Force, including 4,000 French Navy sailors, virtually half of the vessels in the fleet as well as some allied navies. US Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Porter is set to participate, Naval News has learned. Likewise, Royal Navy Type 45 / Daring-class destroyer HMS Dragon was spotted in Toulon naval base today and is likely to participate in POLARIS too. The full list of participating units will be released later this week.
POLARIS 21 is an unprecedented event, which strengthens and federates cooperation around actions at the top of the spectrum between the partner nations of the French Armed Forces.
POLARIS 21 is an operational preparation exercise for a high-intensity engagement that is fully in line with the strategic vision of the French Armed Forces Chief of Staff and the “Combat Navy” axis of the Mercator Acceleration 2021 plan of Admiral Pierre Vandier, Chief of Staff of the French Navy.
While the French armed forces retain the capacity to act alone, the normal framework for their commitment is that of collective action, through the strengthening of operational partnerships with many countries. POLARIS 21 will mobilize all components of the French Navy, including its latest-generation assets, land and air assets from the French Army and Air Force, as well as combat ships and aircraft from France’s partner nations: the United States, Spain, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom. POLARIS 21 will take place mainly in the western Mediterranean, but also the off the French Atlantic coast.
The realistic scenario of POLARIS 21 aims to test the multiple capabilities of an air-sea force, made up of the French carrier strike group, with nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ‘Charles de Gaulle‘ at its centerpiece, against a credible opposition force (OPFOR), gathered around the Mistral-class LHD ‘Tonnerre‘. The latter will be reinforced by an air-land system to provide an anti-access / area denial zone. The density of the French and foreign assets involved will enable modern know-how to be put to the test in high-intensity air-sea combat, covering all areas and fields of conflict in a coordinated and synchronized manner. It will help strengthen the ability of the French armed forces to assume framework-nation responsibilities within a coalition.
Firmly focused on the future, POLARIS 21 is a “laboratory” for tomorrow’s warfare thanks to the integration and synchronization of effects in several fields and environments of conflict. POLARIS 21 will be conducted around high spectrum actions, corresponding to the future missions of the French Navy in a hardened strategic context. It thus completes the preparation of the naval air group before its next operational deployment, which will begin in February 2022.
According to the French Navy, the resources deployed and the realistic scenario of the exercise will enable French soldiers to innovate technically as well as tactically, and thus to invent and test the techniques of tomorrow’s warfare. This logic encourages the 6,000 soldiers deployed for POLARIS 21 to demonstrate great intellectual agility: ambitious experimentation, demanding training, anticipation of tomorrow’s navy. POLARIS 21 fully contributes to the objective of “winning the war before the war”.