Saturday, February 24, 2007

American armada prepares to take on Iran

Telegraph Reports:

The aircraft carrier, backed by its sister vessel, a handful of destroyers and a shoal of support ships, has placed a maritime ring of steel around an increasingly unstable region.
While the Eisenhower is ostensibly assisting US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is
the looming threat of Iran that increasingly occupies its attention.

The addition of a second aircraft carrier to its strike groups has fuelled the belief that America is gearing up for a fight with Iran. Not since the Iraq war in 2003 has America amassed so much fire power around the Gulf.

As flagship of the Fifth Fleet, the Eisenhower welcomed the arrival of a second Nimitz class nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis, and its accompanying destroyers on Tuesday.

Captain Dan Cloyd, the Eisenhower's commanding officer, compared the situation with the international tension of the Cold War. "There was a time when we had two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean," he told The Daily Telegraph. "The world changes and we adapt."

The quiet-spoken Capt Cloyd embraced the suggestion that the dual deployment is at the forefront of efforts to stop Iran getting a nuclear bomb, pointing out that his maritime assets have been tasked to quash any challenge to global security. "Our presence here is an affirmation of our resolve in this area to engage with the nations of the region either where we share common goals or where we face challenges."

The Eisenhower is not only the flagship of the carrier group that protects The Gulf through which one-fifth of the world's oil is shipped. It has also helped overthrow a hard-line Islamic regime in Somalia during a stint off the Horn of Africa.

Its fighter jets now offer close support to Nato and US forces in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Commander Matt Pothier returned yesterday from Afghanistan having delivered air support to British soldiers. He said: "Right now I have more opportunities than I've ever had to use weapons where we know there aren't any friendly people. In combat that's very rewarding."

In the carrier's Combat Direction Centre, Warrant Officer Michael Myers can spot anything untoward in a 256 mile radius from his radar screen. He can identify objects as small as wooden boats on the open sea and small aircraft in a swathe of countries from the Arabian peninsula to the northern shore of the Sea of Arabia.

Should Lieutenant Commander Craig Stapleton, the tactical operations officer, give the order, WO Myers can put up Hawkeye, an EP2 surveillance plane with massive radar capable of establishing American air traffic control across half a continent. "Those planes alone extend our radar horizon to a huge circle of the sky. I could see for 1,000 miles if I wanted to."
As it patrols the shipping lanes of the Strait of Hormuz, the Eisenhower ensures the safe passage of oil tankers. It also prevents the trading routes being used to transport materials that would help rogue nations build a nuclear weapon...

1 comment:

RoxieAmerica said...

Good posting on the Carrier task force serendip.