Illustrious action with France

HMS Illustrious. Picture: Lt Chris Luke RN, 820 Naval Air Squadron
HMS Illustrious. Picture: Lt Chris Luke RN, 820 Naval Air Squadron
The Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov as seen from HMS Somerset in the Moray Firth

Royal Navy ship shadows a Russian destroyer

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PORTSMOUTH-based warship HMS Illustrious is to go on a major naval exercise with the French navy later this year, The News can reveal.

Sources have confirmed the navy’s on-call helicopter carrier – which is at 48 hours’ notice to sail anywhere in the world – will join France’s nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean in October for a series of war game exercises to build on the UK’s military pact with France.

Lusty, which has returned to front-line duties following a £40m refit, will be joined by HMS Ocean and a number of Royal Navy frigates and destroyers as part of the navy’s roving Response Force Task Group (RFTG).

The RFTG, which was created last year, is on call to respond to any major international incident.

It was called into action off the coast of Libya last year to help conduct air raids in the warzone.