French Rafale Fighters to deploy on U.S. aircraft carrier this spring

Croissants, espresso and dark chocolate are among the things 350 French sailors and naval aviators may miss when they deploy with a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier this spring.

From April to May, French aircrews will work aboard the George H.W. Bush, according to USNI News, while their own carrier, the FS Charles de Gaulle, completes a mandatory maintenance period. The deployment has the additional goal of international cooperation and building trust among navies.

“Today we are 95 percent interoperable,” Capt. Jean-Emmanuel Roux de Luze, French Naval Attaché to the U.S., told USNI News. “We want to demonstrate our ability to integrate with U.S. military services.”

It’s a political move more than a militaristic one.

Militarily, the U.S. Navy remains technologically superior. But politically, international missions may benefit from joint operations.

“Due to its size and power, the U.S. Navy does not really need us and not really need help of other navies,” Rouz de Luze told USNI. “The French Navy, we know in the future we will work with other navies, so you need to know how to operate with other navies,”

The French aviators may have some difficulty adjusting, though — the carrier Bush doesn’t feature a single bar for its sailors, let alone four.