The five NATO aircraft carriers and their respective escorts are sailing in different parts of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. These attack groups were led by the USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78, USS George HW Bush CVN 77, Charles de Gaulle R91, HMS Queen Elizabeth R08 and Cavour CVH 550.
As reported by NATO, naval formations will operate throughout the month of November in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean, a period in which they will conduct various training and joint exercises. USS Gerald R. Ford and his escort are expected to join HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is in Norway with its air wing. The British aircraft carrier was operating with its F-35B Lightning II belonging to 617 Squadron.
For its part, the Gerald R. Ford, the most modern aircraft carrier in the US Navy, is making its first operational deployment with the 8th Embarked Air Wing and the USS Normandy with an escort made up of CG-60 cruisers and destroyers. USS Thomas Hudner DDG-116, USS Ramage DDG-61, USS McFall DDG-74. The strike group is supported by the logistics ships USNS Robert E. Peary T-AKE-5 and USNS Joshua Humphreys T-AO-188.
Until a few days ago, within the framework of the “Silent Wolverine” exercise, the Ford Escort was also composed of various ships from NATO countries. German frigate Hessen F-221, Danish frigate Pieter Willemos FFH 362, Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal FFH 336, Spanish Navy frigate Álvaro de Bazan F-101, Dutch frigate Zr.Ms. De Zeven Povincien F 802 and Zr.Ms. Van Amstel F 831 and the French frigate Chevalier Paul D 621.
deployment in the Mediterranean
NATO naval activity also occurs in the Mediterranean, with deployments of the aircraft carriers Charles de Gaulle, Cavour and the USS George HW Bush. The French assault group is also composite, as its escort is made up of ships from Greece, Italy and the US (the USS Roosevelt DDG 80 destroyer). In recent days, Charles de Gaulle conducted maneuvers with the amphibious ship HMS Albion and the Italian Aeronautica Militare.
In recent weeks, the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush has maintained a presence in the Adriatic, carrying aircraft from the Air Wing on 7 different preventive patrols over Lithuania and Poland. With 9 squadrons of fighter-bombers, electronic warfare, early warning, and helicopters operating from its deck, the aircraft carrier George HW Bush was also accompanied by an escort consisting of the USS Leyte Gulf CG-55 and the destroyer USS Truxton DDG-103. and USS Farragut DDG-99.
One of the last aircraft carriers to deploy to the Mediterranean is the Italian Cavour, which will replace the Garibaldi when it returns to Taranto on 15 November.
NATO spokeswoman Ona Lungescu said about the deployment “They demonstrate our ability to project power across coalitions and quickly solidify allies”, In reference to Russia’s war against Ukraine, he said: “These aircraft carriers provide a deterrent and help keep our lines of maritime communication open. Our force sends a clear message that NATO will protect and defend every inch of allied territory.”, At a NATO summit in March, the Allies decided to deploy aircraft carrier strike groups, submarines and a significant number of combat ships for frequent patrols.
Top image: USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier. Credit: USN-II Class Jackson Adkins