The U.S. may soon have two advanced aircraft carriers in the eastern Mediterranean, per Defense Department officials, a move marking a massive escalation in the U.S. military power in that region as fighting intensifies between Israel’s forces and the Hamas militants.
The aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, with associated war vessels and fighter jets, was scheduled to set sail from Norfolk, Va., this week and might also be ordered to deploy to the waters off the Israeli coast, per two DOD officials who were allowed anonymity to talk about near-future operations.
The Eisenhower group has long been scheduled to operate and deploy near Europe, per Lt. Col. Bryon McGarry, DOD spokesperson, mentioned on Tuesday.
The vessel is slated to depart from Norfolk on Friday and could also reach the eastern Mediterranean by October end if ordered, per one of the DOD officials.
At that time, Eisenhower would be joining the aircraft carrier Gerald R Ford and the associated strike group, which the Pentagon reportedly ordered on Sunday to the waters of Israel to show the power of its force following surprise and cruel attacks on southern Israel.
Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary, will continue reviewing deployment plans of both vessels as he considers the optimum balance of maritime capabilities across theatres to support the nation’s security priorities, McGarry explained.
The rare and unprecedented move to have two aircraft carriers that are further accompanied by destroyers, cruisers, and fighter jets as part of strike groups in the area will act as a significant signal to Hamas that the U.S. military is firmly in support of Israel.
The Pentagon deployed two carriers in March 2020 to the Middle East amid rising tension with Iran. At that time, the Eisenhower as well as the USS Harry S. Truman, with respective escorts, were operational in the Arabian Sea.
However, the double carrier strategy has stretched the Navy severely in the past, with the service leaders warning that it was essentially unsustainable.
Aircraft carriers are in high demand all over the globe and are spread out to various regions.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that the U.S. had considered sending Eisenhower toward Israel.
References: Politico, The Wall Street Journal
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