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France to announce deployment of carrier group to Gulf region - media

PARIS, Jan 6 (KUNA) -- France is preparing to send a naval carrier group, led by its sole aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, to the Gulf region to take part in the campaign against ISIL, media reports said on Tuesday.
"Mer et Maritime" naval news publication said the deployment is due to be announced by President Francois Hollande later in January, probably around January 14.
Defence and diplomatic sources were unable to confirm the information reported by the naval affairs on-line publication.
France has already committed to the campaign against ISIL and is flying strike missions in Iraq from bases in the UAE and Jordan. Both Rafale and Mirage fighter-bombers, in addition to refuelling and AWACs-type surveillance planes, are being used in missions against ISIL that began last September.
The naval carrier group to be deployed in the Gulf would include surface, escort vessels, including an air-defence frigate and an anti-submarine frigate and an attack submarine and support vessel, according to the report.
The Charles de Gaulle would provide an additional 30 aircraft to the French forces in the region, including naval Rafales, Super-Etendard planes and Hawkeye helicopters, "Mer et Maritime" said. No potential date for the deployment was given. (end)   jk.bs