USS Gerald R Ford Carrier Strike Group to Assist Israel
In the wake of a surprise attack on Israel by Hamas, the United States demonstrated its unwavering support for Israel by deploying the USS Gerald R Ford aircraft carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean. This deployment aimed to deter further expansion of the conflict in the region.
- The USS Gerald R Ford holds the title of being the largest warship ever constructed.
- It spans an impressive 337 meters in length, measures 78 meters at the flight deck’s widest point, and reaches a towering height of 76 meters. For perspective, it could accommodate over four-and-a-half Qutub Minars in length.
- At full load, it displaces a massive 100,000 tons, which is equivalent to nearly four times the weight of steel used for the Howrah Bridge.
- In comparison, India’s INS Vikrant weighs 45,000 tons at full load, with dimensions of 262 meters by 62 meters by 59 meters.
Carries up to 90 Aircraft and 4,500 Personnel
- The immense size of the USS Gerald R Ford allows it to carry up to 90 aircraft, including advanced planes like the fifth-generation F-35, F/A-18 Super Hornet, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters, and numerous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
- Such a substantial air wing requires a crew of over 4,500 personnel to operate efficiently, encompassing ship operations, the air wing, and support staff. For comparison, India’s INS Vikrant carries 36 aircraft and operates with a crew of approximately 1,650.
Very Agile for its Size
- Despite its colossal dimensions, the USS Gerald R Ford exhibits remarkable agility, boasting a top speed of over 30 knots (56 km/h).
- This exceptional agility is made possible by the power generated by its two A1B nuclear reactors, offering 250% more electrical capacity than the preceding Nimitz-class carriers. These reactors have an impressive life cycle of approximately 25 years.
Always Travels in a Carrier Strike Group
- Aircraft carriers like the Gerald R Ford are offensive weapons and significant symbols of a nation’s military might.
- Consequently, they always operate within the protective cover of a carrier strike group (CSG). A standard US CSG includes a cruiser, at least two frigates or destroyers, and a supply ship, with occasional submarine escorts.
- For its deployment to the Eastern Mediterranean, the US sent the cruiser USS Normandy and destroyers USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney, and USS Roosevelt, in addition to the USS Gerald R Ford.
Named After President Gerald R Ford
- The USS Gerald R Ford, commissioned in 2017, is named in honor of former US President Gerald R Ford, who held office from 1974 to 1977.
- President Ford, who served in the US Navy during World War II, enlisted following the Pearl Harbor Attack on December 7, 1941.
- During his service, Ford took on roles as an assistant navigator, Athletic Officer, and anti-aircraft battery officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Monterey, where he saw action in the Pacific Theatre.
- On January 3, 2007, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that the newest aircraft carrier under development would bear President Ford’s name as a tribute to his service and leadership.
Category: International / World Current Affairs