The Indo-French naval exercise Varuna, beginning on Friday, will see the participation of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, alongside the Indian carrier INS Viraat, besides destroyers/frigates, tankers and submarines from both sides.
According to a statement issued by the Indian Navy, the French detachment includes ships from the French Carrier Strike Group, designated Task Force 473 and mainly based at Toulon, France. French destroyers Forbin and Tourville, supply ship Meuse and nuclear powered submarine Amethyste will take part in Varuna. The Charles De Gaulle will be carrying Rafale and Super Etendard, airborne early warning aircraft E2C Hawkeye and helicopters, according to the statement.
A French Aeronavale Rafale crashed in Pakistani waters in November-end, with no loss of life.
Varuna was last conducted in 2009, when the Indian Navy exercised with the French Rubis-class nuclear submarine Emeraude. The Amethyste is a substantial upgrade on the Rubis class. Its name is an acronym of AMElioration Tactique, HydrodYnamique, Silence, Transmission, Ecoute (Tactical, hydrodynamics, silence and transmission improvements).
The Viraat will be supported by frigates INS Godavari and INS Ganga and Shishumar-class submarine (HDW Type 209), INS Shalki. Indian Sea Harriers and other fixed, as well as rotary wing aircraft will also participate in the exercise.
Harbor exercises will be carried out until Monday, after which drills will be carried out in the open waters of the Arabian Sea until next Friday.
The Indian Navy says the scope of Varuna will include Carrier Operations, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations and Maritime Interdiction Operations.