Five NATO aircraft carriers active around Europe, including US Navy’s newest supercarrier – Technology Org


Five fully-assembled carrier strike groups (CSGs) are patrolling the Euro-Atlantic area.

Aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Image credit: U.S. Navy

Aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Image credit: U.S. Navy

These groups are operating individually with a focus on two flanks, one in the North Sea and the second in the Mediterranean Sea. Defense-related activities are joined by crews from the United States, Great Britain, France, and Italy.

The full lineup of active strike groups includes:

  • USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)
  • USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)
  • HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08)
  • FS Charles de Gaulle (R91)
  • ITS Cavour (CVH 550).

What does the carrier strike group consist of?

There is actually no specific structural definition of a strike group. But aircraft carriers are nearly always accompanied by their escorts, including missile destroyers, multi-mission surface combat missile cruisers, attack submarines with long-range missile weapons, and various supply ships.

It is important to note that the composition of different strike groups is not restricted and can be modified by every country, depending on mission requirements or expected threats.

Five carriers as a measure of deterrence

“Five carriers within our operating area presents a further opportunity to consolidate our approach to air defence, cross-domain cooperation and maritime-land integration,”, commented Vice Admiral Keith Blount, Commander, NATO Allied Maritime Command.

Vice Admiral notes that it is a regular NATO strategy to deploy multiple carriers simultaneously. This way, command centers have the ability to test the cooperation activities in practice.

“It is an opportunity to test allied cooperation and to practice NATO’s ‘deter and defend’ concept across all geographic areas, operational domains and functional areas of the Alliance,” said Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh during a press conference on Thursday.

The latest U.S. supercarrier

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the newest supercarrier from the U.S. Navy. It is an aircraft carrier of a new class equipped with a range of the latest technologies. The idea was to make it a worthy replacement for the Nimitz-class vessels currently in service with the U.S. Navy.

The lead ship of its class, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) was officially commissioned on 22 July 2017. This year marks the first deployment of this impressive vessel. As of 2017, it is the world’s largest aircraft carrier and also the largest military ship ever built in terms of displacement tonnage.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) has the capacity to carry more than 75 aircraft units. It is driven by two Bechtel A1B PWR nuclear reactors and can reach a maximum speed in excess of 56 km/h (35 mph).

The vessel is armed with 2 × RIM-162 ESSM and 2 × RIM-116 RAM surface-to-air missile launchers, three Phalanx CIWS installations, 4 × Mk 38 25 mm machine gun systems, and 4 × M2 .50 Cal. (12.7 mm) machine guns.


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