Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans has joined the vessel group protecting the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle in the Arabian Gulf.
The ship headed for the Middle East on December 1, 2015 and spent her first month east of Suez dealing with terrorism, piracy and smuggling in the Indian Ocean.
HMS St Albans now took her place in Task Force 50 – collectively more than 80,000 tonnes of Anglo-Franco-German steel and thunder – in the ongoing fight against the forces of Daesh.
The 43,000-tonne porte-avions and her air wing of 18 Rafale and 8 Super Étendard strike fighters are conducting regular raids against Daesh targets in the Middle East as part of Operation Chammal – the French codename for a mission the UK calls Shader and the Americans Inherent Resolve.
While destroyer HMS Defender is attached to the USS Harry S Truman carrier strike group as part of the same mission – and helping both to shield the Truman from aerial threats and help direct air strikes by providing an unparalleled radar picture of Gulf skies – the emphasis for St Albans frigate is on anti-submarine and surface protection for the French flagship.
Apart from the Saint and the carrier, the task group comprises the air defence frigate FS Chevalier Paul, escort frigates Provence and Aquitaine, the German frigate Augsburg and the support ship/tanker Marne.
Images: Royal Navy