La Marine Nationale announced to have deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean from November 4 to 13, a powerful surface combat fleet, made of the stealth light frigate Lafayette, from the Latouche-Tréville anti-submarine frigate, and the air defense frigate Forbin, the most powerfully armed combatant surface units of the French Navy. This naval device, designated Surface Action Group or SaG by the Admiralty, in which also participates an Atlantic 2 maritime patrol aircraft based in Crete, and an Awacs E3F Sentry forward air control aircraft of the Air Force, is the 'one of the largest deployed by France in the last two decades, with the exception of the carrier strike group.
As was the case this summer during the first operational French deployment in the area, the choice of the units sent on site was probably made with care. Indeed, Paris could have favored the sending of FREMM frigates, more modern and better armed than the Lafayette or the Georges Leygues, or even send the Carrier Strike Group of the Charles de Gaulle nuclear aircraft carrier which has resumed its operational posture for two months now. But these ships could have been perceived as a direct threat by Ankara, due to the MdCN cruise missiles equipping the former, and strike capabilities of the airborne group of the latter. On the other hand, none of the three ships dispatched on the spot had a strike capacity towards the ground, if it was not their naval artillery, in fact limited.
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