The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG) and French Carrier Air Wing (Groupe Aerien Embarque) departed Norfolk May 7 to begin combined exercise Chesapeake 2018.
Marine Nationale sailors embarked Bush to conduct carrier qualifications (CQ). A CQ is a series of arrested landings and take-offs from an aircraft carrier done regularly by squadrons to maintain their naval aviation proficiency. Groupe Aerien Embarque consists of one E-2C Hawkeye, 12 Rafale Marine multi-role combat aircraft, and 27 pilots looking to keep their skills sharp.
The French navy has one aircraft carrier, Charles De Gaulle (R 91). It is the only other short form take-off nuclear carrier outside of the U.S. Navy, and it is undergoing a maintenance period, presenting a unique training opportunity. Approximately 3,700 U.S. Navy Sailors and 301 French sailors are able to maintain, launch and recover aircraft to strengthen interoperability between U.S. and French naval forces during Chesapeake 2018.