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Daring trains with French flagship from the Red Sea to the Med
18 February 2014

HMS Daring has spent seven days training with France’s flagship, the carrier Charles de Gaulle.

The destroyer – in the final stages of her round-the-world deployment – joined the French flat-top for a series of air defence exercises through the Red Sea.

Daring (closest the camera) and the FS Forbin flank the Charles de Gaulle. Pictures: Marine Nationale

BRITAIN’S most advanced warship has spent seven days safeguard the most powerful surface ship in any European Navy as HMS Daring joined the Charles de Gaulle battle group.

The Portsmouth-based destroyer – in the final few days of her nine-month global deployment – attached herself to the French flagship as she made her way from the Red Sea to the Med.

The Charles de Gaulle has been working east of Suez on her Operation Belleau Wood deployment, including linking up with the American flat-top USS Harry S Truman and frigate HMS Westminster for a large-scale exercise of air and naval power.

Daring with the Charles de Gaulle groupe aéronaval

Those exercises continued when the nuclear-powered French carrier began left the Gulf region and began her journey to the Middle Sea, encountering Daring as she made her way across the Indian Ocean from the Maldives.

The week in company with the Charles de Gaulle – which counts several Royal Navy personnel among her ship’s company – was part of the ‘lesson learning’ for the Anglo-French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force which will be formed in just two years’ time.

To that end, the Charles de Gaulle’s own Super Étendard and Rafale jets hurled themselves at the carrier force in a series of air defence exercises to see whether Daring and the flagship’s other escorts could fend off the incoming attackers.

Waiving any language difficulties aside, slipping into Charles de Gaulle’s groupe aéronaval – the French counterpart of a British carrier strike group – was helped by the fact that Daring’s French equivalent was also part of the task force.

L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace… Daring leads the French tanker Meuse through the Suez canal

The FS Forbin is a Horizon-class frigate – similar to the Type 45s, for the British warships started life as a combined Anglo-French-Italian project before the UK went its separate way about 15 years ago – which, like Daring, is charged with defending a task force against air attack

Once through Suez, the British and French went their separate ways with Daring making a bee line for Malta, where she’s now arrived – only the second Type 45 destroyer to visit Grand Harbour after HMS Dragon called in there late last year.

Having visited nearly two dozen ports around the globe and clocking up 38,000 miles while working with 15 navies, Daring is due to return home to Portsmouth at the end of this month.