French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is docked at Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Senior French navy officials on Thursday talked about the role played by French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in operations conducted by US-led coalition forces against Daesh.

The flagship of the French navy, which anchored at Mina Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi after completing its mission in Iraq, hosted a visit for journalists on board.

The ship’s aircrafts had to fly six hours at a stretch in a 1,000km long target area, which was not easy, Rear Admiral Eric Chaperon, Commander of the Task Force 473, told Gulf News on Thursday.

During its visit to the UAE, the ship will participate in Big Fox, a joint naval exercise with the UAE Navy, from March 31 to April 4.

Captain Piere Vandier of the Charles de Gaulle said the coalition forces’ operations in Iraq has weakened Daesh.

Rafale and Super Etendard fighter jets from the nuclear-powered ship attacked Daesh positions in Iraq.

The Charles de Gaulle arrived in the Arabian Gulf last in February to provide additional air power to the US-led coalition conducting air strikes against the militants who have seized a third of Iraq and Syria.

France has been one of the most active members of the coalition.

For this mission, the Charles de Gaulle was under American operational control and worked alongside a US Navy aircraft carrier group led by the USS Carl Vinson.

French President Francois Hollande ordered the Charles de Gaulle to the Gulf just days after extremists launched a deadly attack on the Paris office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January.

France along with Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Jordan, the Netherlands and the US are carrying out strikes against Daesh in Iraq. The US and regional allies Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also carrying out strikes against the group in Syria.

American planes were responsible for 1,140 of the 1,619 strikes in Iraq since operations began in August, according to US Central Command.

In 2009, then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy opened the country’s first Gulf military base in Abu Dhabi.

The Charles de Gaulle played a key role in the 2011 Nato-led air campaign in Libya.