Take a look at the warships of the second US Navy carrier strike group sent to keep the powder keg from blowing in the Middle East

  • The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is in the Middle East.

  • It was recently operating alongside the Gerald R. Ford CSG.

  • The two strike groups are being used in a deterrence role to keep the Israel-Hamas war from getting worse.

USS Gerald R. Ford, the US Navy's newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, and another American flattop recently conducted dual carrier operations in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Last week, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group participated in joint training exercises with USS Gerald R. Ford and its escort ships focused on high-value unit defense, ballistic missile defense, replenishments at sea, cross-deck flight operations, and maritime security operations.

The two US Navy strike groups were joined by two Italian Navy frigates, ITS Virginio Fasan and ITS Carlo Margottini. The joint exercise was intended to demonstrate a unified front among allies as well as the ability to respond quickly and decisively to crises.

"Our presence sends a clear signal about our commitment to deter aggression and promote stability throughout the region," Vice Admiral Thomas Ishee, commander of the US Sixth Fleet, said in a press release.

The two American strike groups were sent to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as a show of support for Israel and a deterrent against escalation after the attacks by Hamas militants on October 7, 2023, which ignited a war at risk of evolving into a broader conflict.

After the exercises concluded, the Eisenhower and its escort ships moved into the Red Sea, leaving the Ford in the Eastern Mediterranean. Here are the warships and combat capabilities of the Eisenhower strike group in the Middle East.

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

A photo of two aircraft carriers sailing next to each other.
USS Gerald R. Ford and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower sail together in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Mattingly/DVIDS

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is one of the Navy's nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, which were succeeded by the new Ford-class carriers.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is comprised of the carrier, its air wing, a guided-missile cruiser, and guided-missile destroyers.

USS Mason

A photo of a large US destroyer ship.
The destroyer USS Mason sails in the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt, in 2011.AP Photo

USS Mason is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and part of Destroyer Squadron 22. Armed with a variety of missiles, it can serve in offensive and defensive roles for the strike group, such as intercepting airborne threats or engaging surface vessels or land targets.

In October 2016, the Mason was famously targeted on three separate occasions by Houthi rebels in Yemen, an Iran-backed group that has more recently been firing missiles at Israel. The warship is said to have successfully defeated an anti-ship missile during one of the engagements.

USS Philippine Sea

A photo of a US guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely in the Ocean.
The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) transits during a passing exercise off the coast of Greenland.Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Dowell/DVIDS

Like USS Mason, USS Gravely is also an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer. While the former was commissioned in 2003, the Gravely entered service with the Navy years later.

Officially commissioned in 2010, USS Gravely has participated in various missions in waters around Greece and Syria and in the Persian Gulf, where the US Navy routinely patrols in an effort to deter malign Iranian activity.

USS Philippine Sea

A photo of the USS Philippine Sea.
The USS Philippine Sea.U.S. Navy/AP Photos

USS Philippine Sea is a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, a vessel with a larger collection of vertical launch system cells carrying cruise missiles and interceptors than the destroyers. Its armaments enable it to fire missiles to strike land targets or defend against aircraft or incoming missiles. It can also engage surface vessels.

This warship was previously involved in cruise missile strikes on the Islamic State in Syria.

Carrier Air Wing 3

A photo of sailors walking on the tops of fighter jets.
Sailors perform maintenance on aircraft from CVW-3 onboard USS Harry S. Truman.DVIDS

Carrier Air Wing 3 is one of the oldest air wings in the Navy and operates from aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The air wing assists the carrier strike group in early warning, interception, and destruction of enemy aircraft or missiles, strike operations, and air superiority missions.

Among the aircraft that make up Carrier Air Wing 3 are F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, an E-2C Hawkeye, and MH-60S Seahawks.

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