Home Military Five NATO aircraft carriers operate together in a show of force

Five NATO aircraft carriers operate together in a show of force

Two American and three European aircraft carriers are simultaneously operating. Ticonderoga missile cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers accompany the U.S. ships.

USS Gerald R. Ford sails into European waters
USS Gerald R. Ford sails into European waters. Image: USN

NATO, led by the United States Navy, commands the most formidable naval force in the world. The Alliance is dramatically displaying this in the waters surrounding Europe, where two American and three European aircraft carriers are simultaneously operating.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) and USS George HW Bush (CVN-77), as well as the French FS Charles de Gaulle (R91), the British HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), and the Italian ITS Cavour (CVH 550) are conducting synchronised operations off the coast of Europe.

Together with their escorts, all aircraft carriers operate in the North Atlantic, North, and Mediterranean Seas. Ticonderoga missile cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers accompany the U.S. ships.

Submarines are another component of the alliances. Submarine deployment and general activities information is typically classified. Nonetheless, they occasionally announce their existence as part of the military notion of a “show of force.” Mid-October, for instance, the USS Rhode Island, a ballistic submarine of the Ohio class, visited Gibraltar. In October, the same-class submarine USS West Virginia surfaced in the Arabian Sea. Both boats are equipped with Trident D5 nuclear missiles.

You cannot expect the five aircraft carriers to “congregate” in one spot because they all operate in various locations. That makes no sense, regardless. Strategically, all aircraft carriers operate throughout the European operational region. 

Even though each nation’s troops operate in support of their individual mission objectives, advanced collaboration displays Alliance cohesion in its collective defence. According to a NATO news release, the groups include ships and assets from diverse allies and partners and are coordinated with NATO Standing Maritime Groups 1 and 2 [SNMG 1 and SNMG 2]. The statement continued that this event offers allies a chance to coordinate credible combat power across the Euro-Atlantic region and a demonstration of NATO’s cohesion and interoperability.

Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG) is the NATO NRF’s (NATO Response Force) naval component. Two groups throughout Europe are constantly on the move: SNMG 1 and SNMG 2. Four to six frigates or destroyers operate in rotation for each group.

Vice Admiral Keith Blount, chief of NATO’s Naval Command, stated that NATO frequently exhibits coherence and coordination with multiple foreign maritime assets. This opportunity displays an unbroken dedication to the stability and security of the Euro-Atlantic region and the robustness of our joint capabilities. He stated that the presence of five aircraft carriers in the operational area presented an additional chance to reinforce the approach to air defence, cross-regional cooperation, and sea and land transit integration.

Deputy Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh stated that these missions allow partner nations to coordinate vital fighting power throughout the Euro-Atlantic region while showcasing NATO’s cohesion and interoperability. She noted that it is also a chance to test allied collaboration and practise NATO’s deterrence and defence strategy across all alliance geographies, operational domains, and functional sectors.

The Gerald R. Ford, the world’s largest and most sophisticated aircraft carrier, sailed in Portsmouth, England, on Monday for its very first operational deployment. Because of its size, the ship was anchored in Stokes Bay near Gosport. On November 18, the carrier departed the port, concluding its second international port visit and first in Europe.

The American ship is equipped with CVW 8 (Carrier Air Wing 8). The wing consists of squadrons of F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters, EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, E-2 Hawkeye naval “AWAC” aircraft, C-2 Greyhound transport aircraft, and MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopters.

Home to the aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and HMS Prince of Wales, HMNB Portsmouth is one of the key bases of the British Royal Navy (R09).

In the eastern Atlantic last week, Ford’s CSG engaged in drill Silver Wolverine alongside ships from Canada, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, and the Netherlands. Last month, the USS Gerald R. Ford made its first-ever overseas port call in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Since August, the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) of the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush has been conducting operations in the Mediterranean Sea. It Assumed duty as a guard behind the CSG aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). The aircraft carrier Truman, together with the aircraft carriers Charles de Gaulle and Cavour, exercised in the Mediterranean.

Before the USS Harry S. Truman returned to her home port of Norfolk, the two U.S. boats briefly sailed together in the Mediterranean, marking the first time two U.S. aircraft carriers had deployed in the region. CVW 7 is operated by the USS George HW Bush and is arranged identically to CVW 8.

The USS George HW Bush (CVN-77) is currently transiting the Adriatic Sea. It visited, among other places, the Croatian city of Split.

The French Charles de Gaulle embarked on the Antares mission on November 15, leaving France. Three thousand French and Allied troops were involved in the mission. The Greek, Italian, and American navies participate in the Antares mission.

Charles de Gaulle will mostly move in the Mediterranean Sea, but it may eventually proceed to the Indian Ocean. The most recent variants of Rafale F3R fighters and E-2C Hawkeye early warning and air traffic control aircraft are on board. Additionally, the ship can deploy NH90 Caiman and AS365 Daihin helicopters.

HMS Prince of Wales (R09), whose propulsion system is undergoing maintenance, has been mainly replaced by the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth visited New York and is currently crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The British aircraft carrier carries multirole F-35B Lightning II fighters and Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.

ITS Cavour operates in the Mediterranean and carries F-35B (and/or AV-8 Harrier) and AW101 helicopters.

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