French ships on deployment will ‘invade’ Gosport

By Miles O’Leary

FRENCH vessels on a five-month deployment across the world will descend upon Gosport’s shores for a series of action-packed training exercises.

The French navy’s amphibious landing helicopter dock, Tonnerre, and its anti-submarine warfare destroyer, Georges Leygues, will make their presence known at Browndown Beach on Friday and Saturday.

A combined amphibious task group made up of 200 army soldiers, 43 vehicles, four helicopters, two landing craft units and a landing catamaran onboard Tonnerre will all be taking part in the activities.

Georges Leygues is escorting the team.

There will be driver training, live fire exercises and an assault course.

The purpose of the exercises, part of the Mission Jeanne d’Arc deployment, is to give members of the French Naval Academy 2010-class valuable experience.

They left Brest, France, on Saturday and the Gosport stop will be one of their first ports of call.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘Gosport has got an incredible history of serving the armed forces.

‘This proves Gosport is still incredibly relevant in the days of modern military training.

‘It’s fantastic that we are still at the forefront of cutting edge exercises.

‘Browndown Beach is an amazing location and from the road you can’t really get a grasp of how large it is.

‘It’s the perfect place for these type of amphibious landing groups.’

After their stay the vessels will travel to the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, where they will take part in the European anti-piracy operation Atalanta.

They will also stop by in Chinese waters.

Captain Jean-François Quérat is the commanding officer of Tonnerre.

He was born in 1968 in Toulon.

He graduated from the French Naval Academy in 1993 and completed his studies at the French Joint Defence College in 2007.


Original Article