In a few days, the Jeanne d’Arc mission, composed of the LHD Dixmude and the FS La Fayette, will sail for a 5 month deployment, with nearly 800 sailors and soldiers on board, including 160 cadets from the Ecole Navale, the French naval academy.
Jeanne D’Arc is an annual, long duration, and joint deployment which aim is to provide officer cadets with “at sea” operational training before joining their units as officers. The mission has three main objectives:
- Train the future generations of French Navy officers
- Deploying operational capabilities in areas of strategic interest
- Interoperability and regional cooperation
This year, the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) will deploy from February 8, to mid-July from the Mediterranean homeport of Toulon. It will then conduct a “full circumnavigation” of the hearth: Sailing through the Suez Canal, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Malacca Strait, Java Sea, Arafura Sea, Coral Sea, Pacific Ocean, Panama Canal, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
It will call in Djibouti, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, Clipperton, Mexico, Martinique and Guadeloupe.
The ARG will conduct a number of major exercises including:
- “La Pérouse” in the Indian Ocean with the US, Australia, Japan and India
- “Croix du Sud” off New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean with 15 nations
According to the French Navy, the mission will contribute to:
- France’s sovereignty in its overseas territories
- maintain the capacity for autonomous situation assessment
- strengthen cooperation and interoperability with its partners
During a media briefing held yesterday at the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Commanding Officer of the mission, Captain Emmanuel Mocard explained that the mission is a versatile tool to act in the aeromaritime domain, act in the “air land” domain from the sea, train officer of tomorrow, gather information and anticipate…
Upgraded La Fayette Frigate with Sonar
Asked by Naval News about the presence of the La Fayette frigate following her mid-life upgrade , Captain Mocard explained:
“It is the second time that an LHD is escorted by a modernized frigate because last year year, the Mistral was escorted by frigate Courbet which is the first upgraded La Fayette class frigate. [The upgraded La Fayette frigate] had a true impact on the planning of this mission. Three years ago, before the upgrade of the La Fayette class frigates, we would not have been able to conduct this circumnavigation around the world. Because following their mid-life update, the frigates have better sea-keeping and have more endurance. The transit between Tahiti and Acapulco will be very demanding and it would have required the support of a supply vessel in the past”.
Regarding the addition of a sonar system on the Frigate, Captain Mocard explained:
“For the students, of course it is a plus to have an ASW frigate [as part of the group], first for the culture of all the students, but especially for those who will specialize in the anti-submarine warfare field. So far, we could do a lot with simulation tools. But to have an escort vessel fitted with a sonar system will show them realistically how to use such a system”
As we reported previously, the frigates received a KingKlip Mk2 hull-mounted medium-frequency sonar from Thales as part of the upgrade program. It is the same model selected for the FDI frigates. This ASW capability requires six additional specialized sailors who reinforces the crew of each frigate.