French and Algerian naval forces are conducting a bilateral exercise of surveillance and maritime security, Baptized Rais Hamidou 11, in the western Mediterranean, Toulon, south-eastern France.

The French La Fayette frigate, Panther helicopter, and Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft will take part in the exercise alongside Algeria’s Rais Cors frigate, coastguard patrol boats, two lifeboats, a maritime surveillance aircraft and a helicopter.

The exercise aims to strengthen operational cooperation and develop interoperability between the two navies in the fields of maritime surveillance and security.

The first phase of the exercise will take place in Toulon until 2 April 2011.

The second phase, to end on 12 April, will include air-sea search, rescue and interception missions that will take place off the Algerian coast.

The exercise is part of the defence agreement on cooperation and friendship signed between the countries on 21 June 2008, according to Ennahar Online.