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France, U.S., others participate in Group Arabian Sea Warfare Exercise

The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, along with the US guided-missile cruiser Port Royal and the US amphibious assault ship Makin Island, the Belgian frigate Leopold the 1st, the Japanese destroyer Ariake, and the French frigate Provence, participated in the Group Arabian Sea Warfare Exercise this weekend. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy/Marine nationale
The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, along with the US guided-missile cruiser Port Royal and the US amphibious assault ship Makin Island, the Belgian frigate Leopold the 1st, the Japanese destroyer Ariake, and the French frigate Provence, participated in the Group Arabian Sea Warfare Exercise this weekend. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy/Marine nationale

March 23 (UPI) -- France's Charles De Gaulle carrier strike group led a Group Arabian Sea Warfare Exercise Friday through Monday.

Belgium, Japan and the United States all participated in the exercise, which the Navy described in a press release as the first major multilateral exercise since last month's "Clemenceau 21" mission.

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The forces practiced anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare tactics and procedures in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman.

They also practiced operating aircraft from different partner nation ships and hunting enemy submarines, as well as conducting "long range maritime strikes against simulated adversarial forces."

"GASWEX was a unique opportunity for our combined forces to practice the full breadth of our mutual combat capabilities," Brig. Gen. Farrell Sullivan, commanding general of Commander Task Force 51/5, said in the release. "Our Marines and Sailors gained invaluable maritime security experience operating alongside their French, Belgian and Japanese counterparts."

U.S. forces participating in the exercise included the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island as well as the USS Port Royal -- along with F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighters and MV-22 Osprey aircraft.

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group began air operations in the Arabian Gulf in mid-February, about a week after the Makin Island and the Royal transited the Strait of Hormuz and entered the gulf.

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