Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where are the Carriers?

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USS Harry S Truman CVN-75 during rudder check in the Atlantic 14 March 2009
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According to STRATFOR, as of 18 August, we have only one carrier strike group in the Arabian Sea off the Iranian/Pakistani coast, led by the USS Harry S Truman CVN-75.

However, the big deck amphibious warfare ship, USS Peleliu LHA-5, probably with elements of its Expeditionary Strike Group, has moved in the past week from a position off Somalia (supporting anti-piracy operations), to just off the coast of Pakistan in order to support flood relief operations.  This places them very close to the southern coast of Iran.

USS Peleliu (LHA 5) conducts operations near the Southern California coast 30 October 2007
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The primary mission of the Harry S Truman is to provide support to Afghanistan operations. They are also well-positioned to ensure freedom of the seas for the Strait of Hormuz and to perform raids into Iran, if we ever decide to do that.

Last month, STRATFOR reported that the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CVN-69 and its strike group operating off Iran were relieved by the Harry S. Truman, but stayed in the area for some time, leading to speculation that a strike on Iran could be planned.  The Dwight D. Eisenhower has since returned to its home port in Norfolk Virginia.

Note that during the Bush administration, even as late as 2007 and 2008, we sometimes had as many as 3 carrier strike groups in the Arabian Sea.

We currently have five Atlantic carriers and six Pacific carriers.  One of each set are in extended maintenance and are undeployable (USS Theodore Roosevelt CVN-71 and USS John C. Stennis CVN-74).  Two of the deployed Atlantic Carriers, and two of the Pacific carriers are in their home ports.  The USS Enterprise CNV-65 is carrying out exercises off the US east coast in preparation for its upcoming deployment, which I am assuming will be in the Arabian Sea.

I recommend STRATFOR if you are interested in real information and analysis of world events.  Although the yearly cost is very high at $349 per year, if you sign up for a free trial they will send you an email offering a year for $129 -- and a free book.

The U.S. Navy Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier USS HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN 75), with embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 (CVW-3), sails through the Atlantic Ocean on April 3, 2007, while conducting a Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) to evaluates its readiness for deployment.
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