French Rafale-M Fighters Land, Launch & Perform Touch-And-Go Maneuvers Aboard The USS George HW Bush Aircraft Carrier

The French Navy’s Rafale fighter jets recently landed, launched, and performed touch-and-go maneuvers aboard the USS George HW Bush Aircraft Carrier in the waters of the Ionian Sea. 

On November 29, the US Navy released a video showing the activities of a French Rafale fighter on the USS George HW Bush, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The landing and takeoff of the French Rafale Marine occurred on November 23 during multicarrier operations.

The Official Twitter of US Fleet Forces Command tweeted, “IONIAN SEA -@MarineNational Rafale fighter jets land, launch and perform touch-and-goes aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier @GHWBCVN77 during multicarrier operations, November 23, 2022.”

In the video, the French fighter performs a touch-and-go landing onboard the US Navy aircraft carrier. A touch-and-go landing, also called “circuits and bumps,” occurs when an aircraft touches its wheels on a runway or flight deck but does not entirely stop. 

Instead, it increases the throttle and takes off once more. It’s a standard training exercise that enables the fighter jet to frequently show off its ship-related navigation skills and capacity for making precise landings on the deck of a carrier while at sea. 

The fighter jet attempted three touch-and-go landings before it ultimately succeeded in hooking the arresting cable and making a successful landing. The entire takeoff procedure is also depicted in the video. 

At 0.48 seconds, the French aircraft appears positioned on one of the carrier’s catapults. Behind the French fighter, the jet deflector is also visible to be lifted on the flight deck. The French pilot was given the go-ahead to lift off by the catapult officer wearing a yellow vest. 

IONIAN SEA Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Roberto Cerdas directs a French navy Rafale fighter jet onto a catapult aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) during multicarrier operations between the George HW Bush Carrier Strike Group (CSG), the France navy’s Charles de Gaulle CSG, and the Italian navy Cavour CSG, November 23, 2022.

George HW Bush CSG is on a planned deployment in the area of operations of US Naval Forces Europe to protect the interests of the United States, its allies, and partners. 

The US and French navies use the same technology to launch and recover fixed-wing aircraft from their aircraft carriers. The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has steam catapults for takeoff and arresting cables for planes’ landings. 

This has a crucial advantage in permitting French aircraft to function from a US aircraft carrier. This was a hypothetical possibility until June 4, 2010, when a French Navy Rafale fighter became the first foreign plane to touchdown aboard a US aircraft carrier, especially the Nimitz-class USS Harry S Truman.

NATO Navies In Europe

The US Navy mentioned that the deployment of the Rafale Marine aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier was made during multicarrier operations between the George HW Bush Carrier Strike Group (CSG), the France Navy’s Charles de Gaulle CSG, and the Italian navy Cavour CSG.

The US Navy, on November 23, said that US, French, and Italian aircraft carriers operated together close to Italy. 

At the time, Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander of Carrier Strike Group 10, said that these activities demonstrated the United States’ interoperability and its interchangeability with its partners and allies.

USS George HW Bush – Wikipedia

The NATO navies conducted exercises in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean throughout November, involving five aircraft carriers, multiple warships, and thousands of personnel.

The five aircraft carriers included in the exercise are the US Navy’s USS George HW Bush and Gerald R Ford, British Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth, Italy’s ITS Cavour, and France’s Charles De Gaulle. 

According to NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu, the deployments show the alliance’s capacity to project power across the alliance and swiftly bolster Allies. She stated that these carriers provide deterrence and aid in maintaining their sea lines of communication in the backdrop of Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.

The military alliance also said that NATO’s power makes it quite evident that it will defend and safeguard every square inch of Allied territory. The Allies decided to consistently deploy carrier strike groups, submarines, and large numbers of combat ships on patrol during the NATO Summit in March.

Nevertheless, these operations offer Allied countries a chance to coordinate vital combat that might come across the Euro-Atlantic region while showing NATO integration and cooperation.