Around 70 Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel have joined a French task group aboard the French assault ship FS Mistral for the five-month mission. It includes port calls in Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Japan, Guam and Australia. Two Royal Navy Merlin Mk3 helicopters have joined the deployment, which will include amphibious exercises and defence engagement.
The UK contribution to France’s annual Jeanne d’Arc naval deployment demonstrates the strength and depth of UK-France ties and our shared commitment to protecting international maritime security.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
France is one of our closest allies and our world class maritime forces are combining to show we can operate together effectively.
Whether deployed together at sea, striking Daesh from the air, or contributing to NATO deployments in the Baltics, Britain and France will continue to work hard for our shared security.
This deployment further shows the UK’s ability to operate alongside French forces, in line with our development of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force, a rapidly deployable joint UK-French force that can respond to crises.
Our navies already work together to counter piracy and maritime crime around the coasts of Africa and people smugglers in the Mediterranean, and Royal Navy ships have supported the Charles de Gaulle Aircraft Carrier in its operations against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
British and French forces also operate together as members of NATO, with France contributing to the UK-led enhanced Forward Presence deployment to Estonia this year.
The UK and France share a history of cooperation on defence and security, from fighting alongside each other since the First World War to supporting a rules-based international system on the UN Security Council into the 21st Century. Even closer bilateral defence and security ties are being developed through the 2010 Lancaster House Treaties.