France begins two weeks of naval drills in the Mediterranean on Thursday described as a “laboratory of war” to prepare for future conflicts.
About 6,000 troops will take part in the Polaris exercises, working from 20 warships, a submarine, three naval headquarters and a fleet of aircraft.
With help from the UK, US, Italy, Greece and Spain, they will simulate a battle at sea involving the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
The aircraft carrier, which last week was involved in a collision with a sailing boat off the French coast, will come under an imaginary attack led by the amphibious helicopter carrier Tonnerre.
Both vessels were recently deployed in the Mediterranean, with Tonnerre holding joint exercises with Greece during maritime tensions with Turkey.
The Greek frigate Adrias is taking part after sailing to the French port of Toulon for the drills, which are being held in the western part of the sea.
France has made a point of speaking up for Greece’s security, having signed a defence agreement with Athens in October.
The pact was welcomed by the Greek government as a security guarantee against Turkey, which has angered Paris with its claims on land, sea and mineral rights in the Mediterranean.
Another frigate, the Auvergne, visited Cyprus on a tour of the Eastern Mediterranean last week that its captain said was a signal of France’s commitment to security in the region.