USS Harry S Truman and her carrier strike group have passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean Sea.

“I’m proud of the professional seamanship our Sailors showcased as we transited through one of the busiest sea lanes in the world,” said Truman’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Nicholas Dienna.

“It was a beautiful spring day, and these men and women executed their responsibilities flawlessly.” 

Along with Truman, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy and the guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman made the journey from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea through the second busiest waterway in the world say the US Navy. But this event carried with it more than breathtaking visuals of the Gibraltar landscape. More importantly, it served as a strategic step for the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.

“Entering the Western Mediterranean enhances our ability to support national and regional missions in the Sixth Fleet area of responsibility,” added Dienna in a US Navy release.

“This includes working with our NATO Allies as well as European and African partners to maintain the right presence when and where it’s needed.”

According to the US Navy, just prior to entering the Strait of Gibraltar, HSTCSG completed Lightning Handshake 2018 with its long-time African partner Morocco.

“As the HSTCSG continues on its regularly-scheduled deployment, successful completion of events like Lightning Handshake 2018 and transiting the Strait of Gibraltar demonstrate Truman’s capability to strengthen partnerships and flexibility, to rapidly respond anywhere our team is needed around the globe,” added Dienna.

With Truman as the flagship, HSTCSG is comprised of the ships, aircraft and Sailors of Carrier Strike Group Eight, Destroyer Squadron Two Eight, Carrier Air Wing One; and Sachsen class German frigate FGS Hessen .

26 COMMENTS

    • That article you linked to gave Truman’s last deployment in 2016 as 8 months long so if this deployment is of similar length then QEC should have been in the USA for a while before Truman heads home and F-35B trials off the carrier should already be well under way.

  1. I am curious. What is the battle group msde up of in a standard peace time deployment, both escorts wise and planes?

    • This one has been detailed on a previous article here – https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/us-carrier-strike-group-enters-european-theatre/.

      That article lists the escorts as 1 Tico and 3 AB initially with 2 AB to join later. I assume there are also various supply ships and at least one SSN kicking around, given the US resources probably more than 1.

      To put the escorts into context, when that group is up to full strength with all 5 ABs it will have 6 x 96 plus 1 x 122 = 698 Mk41 tubes across all of those escorts. Compare that to the likely total Mk41 count of the RN which, assuming T45s never get theirs and T31 is Sea Ceptor only, will be 8 x T26 (and that’s assuming T26 numbers don’t get cut further!) which gives 8 x 24 = 192 for the entire RN!

      I suppose the big question is whether this a standard peacetime deployment or is it slightly bulked up due to heightened tensions?

      • Sorry. Typo above. 4 x AB + 1 Tico initially (Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60); Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)) plus 2 joining later (The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) and USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) are slated to deploy and rejoin the strike group at a later date). The subsequent Mk41 maths is using the correct numbers for ABs.

        • The HSTSG is actually closer in hull numbers to an actual Carrier Battle Group of the Cold War Days (probably to send a message). The normal CSG deployment is in the range of 1 CVN, 1 Tico, 2 AB, and an SSN.

          The USN is now dialing back the lengths of deployments as well to save wear and tear on ships and crews. The CSG might be back in Norfolk within a few months.

          Cheers!

      • (Chris H) – I always think it is worth noting certain aspects when comparing the Royal Navy (or any of our Forces) size with the USA:
        * Any simple numbers must be multiplied by 6 to equate population size difference.
        * The population (x 6) comparison should also be multiplied with the larger tax take of the US Government for its military deploying 3.5% GDP against our 2%. Or 75% bigger making a numerical comparison @ 10.5%
        (So our equivalent carrier force is 21 compared to the USA)
        * We have no intention or desire to dictate international politics by force. The USA clearly still has that intent.
        * We seek to use our naval forces in a defence role with occasional aggressive actions within coalitions.
        * The USA will deploy naval forces on its own to aggressively pursue a perceived enemy
        * Any ‘coalitions’ it works with are always led by the USA to ensure American policy objectives are met

        All the above is not to criticise the USA in any way and certainly not any serving military people but to ensure some context is added. The admiral’s words seem to exemplify the USA’s attitude to everyone else:
        ” in the Sixth Fleet area of responsibility”
        When anyone else would say “our area of activity”
        Who gave the USA ‘responsibility’ for the Mediterranean? Answer: the USA. This is why they deploy the huge assets they build, own and operate. Only the USA would justify spending $16 Bn on ONE carrier and sometimes we should ask ourselves if not the Americans “Why?”

        • Problems with your model:
          1. The US is only 5x larger in population.
          2.The US does not tax it’s citizens as much so it gives the Military a larger share of a proportionately smaller budget.
          3.Your Carrier model doesn’t take into account the difference in other ship types- Destroyers, Cruisers, Amphibs,big deck Amphibs, and Submarines.
          4. A vastly larger Army, National Guard, and Marine Corps.
          In addition the enemies of the United States are not perceived or imagined they are very real. As for areas of responsibilities. Well we damned sure can’t rely on the RN based at Malta or Alexandria anymore now can we? Europe and the UK abdicated responsibility in favor of massive, bloated inefficient welfare systems. Rather than their primary responsibility which is the defense of their people, territory, and allies. What choice has the United States and her Navy but to take up the burden of these responsibilities.
          Of course we take the lead Europe is unrealiable. Peace does not preserve itself, it takes vigorous action. Only strength is respected not willingness to concede the courage of your convictions for some temporary and illusory peace.

          • (Chris H) Elliott – Interesting that I only sought to give context, balance and ask a question. I deliberately did NOT criticise or demean your country. But in typical Yank fashion you respond by demeaning and abusing mine:
            “Peace does not preserve itself, it takes vigorous action”
            – One country that has very actively pursued and maintained peace at great cost to itself is the UK

            ” the UK abdicated responsibility in favor of massive, bloated inefficient welfare systems.”
            – Well that is some distortion but at least we do not have people die or are bankrupted for lack of money to pay for health care do we?

            Well done.

            At which point I will take this no further….

          • A disclaimer before making a statement does not change their effect or meaning. I was merely correcting your data as to the size of the United States. In addition to the proportion Military spending is within a budget that taxes less of the economy. Indicating a higher commitment to national defense, one should not find facts demeaning they simply are.

            Also people in the US do not die from lack of healthcare. Get bankrupted yes, but die? No. What you have in America is choice. If you wish to expend YOUR money and the benefits you had the foresight to pay for, on some glimmer of hope or to extend your or your child’s life. That is your prerogative, it’s a free country. What will not happen is a bunch of high handed doctors and bureaucrats writing you and yours of as either goners or not cost effective. A hospital actually filing suit to kill a patient would result in a first degree premeditated murder charge against them. Likely eventually resulting in the staff members involved eventual execution. As it would be difficult to say that it wasn’t planned act for material benefit. So do please stop trying to extol the virtues of socialized medicine to Americans who are usually to the right of your local sociology professor. As beyond the NHS’s monumental costs and the fact neither of us will convince the other is wrong and has nothing to do with defense. Best a subject to be avoided.

          • I hope we make up for this with umanned sytems, containerized weapons modules and arsenal ships.
            We should also be uparming the RFA and OPVs and adding networked sensors to everything, eg carrier deployed work boats

  2. That’s not a fair comparison though. Many of their tubes will be taken with anti air missiles and need to fire multiples to guarantee a hit from what I’ve heard on here. Once you factor the 48 seaceptor on each t45 and t26 the gap narrows considerably. But yes to lower numbers of other types of missiles but not by such a massive margin.

    • Obviously Sea Ceptor can quad-pack into a Mk41 tube so for instance T26’s 48 Sea Ceptors would take 12 Mk41. Still, you’re right that it wasn’t a fair comparison (mea culpa), especially when you also have to deduct more Mk41s from the US total to account for any Sea Ceptor that T31s carry (or at least I hope T31s end up carrying some). A bit of a silly comparison really, but at least shows somewhat how impressive the USN resources are in comparison to everyone else’s.

      On that one vs multiple shots to kill thing – are we really so sure that Sea Ceptor is such a step change vs ESSM which I assume you are comparing it to? Great news if the answer is yes but curious if anyone could give more explanation on that bit.

  3. Just a thought – all the maths regarding how many VLS Tubes are available and with what weapons is very interesting but it presumes that all of them are actually loaded – would ships in peacetime always sail with a full weapons load ?

    • That was actually a question that I considered asking Helions, i.e. whether there was any general scuttlebutt on his side of the pond about how fully loaded ABs and Ticos tend to be when they sail and how sufficient the stockpiles of various weapons are.

      We can all count planes and tanks and frigates so those are numbers that are quite visible to the public. If a government wants to quietly save money, it hopes without the voting public noticing and with a careless disregard for military effectiveness, a good way to do it is to run down weapons stocks, sail with mostly empty silos and cut back on maintenance to let certain elements go non-operational (although the German military’s use of that last strategy has certainly had some exposure in articles on this site).

      • ” If a government wants to quietly save money, it hopes without the voting public noticing and with a careless disregard for military effectiveness,”

        During the 80s some bright spark decided that if they removed all the fire extinguishes from army vehicles they could save a load of money. Funny enough for some very strange reason it wasn’t long before they came back.

        In the 2000s the British government of the day decided to get rid of the 27mm cannon on the Typhoon, then after spending millions finding out that the gun was actually part of the aircraft, and couldn’t be removed, they relented and said they could keep the gun but they wouldn’t be issued rounds for it.

        • Ah, found the Parliamentary minutes on the above:
          Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if the Mauser 27mm cannon specified for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft will be installed in aircraft of Tranche 1 of the production programme for the Royal Air Force; [121683]

          (2) if the Royal Air Force will procure Mauser 27mm cannon to fit to its Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft with a corresponding stock of spares and ammunition. [121677]
          Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: The Mauser 27mm cannon will be installed in Tranche 1 Eurofighter aircraft for the royal Air Force. However, we are not planning to procure stocks of spares or ammunition following our decision not to use the gun, or to fit it to subsequent tranches of aircraft.

          Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what instruction he gave to the Defence Sales organisation of his Department on the inclusion of Mauser 27mm cannon in Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for sale to the Greek Air Force. [121679]

          Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State of Defence has given no instructions to officials concerning the weapons configuration for Eurofighter sales to the Greek Air Force. This is a matter for the Greek Government and Eurofighter GmbH with which they are negotiating the sale.

          I welcome the benefits to the UK Defence Industry that the proposed sale will bring and my Department will continue to support that sale through the Defence Export Services Organisation, providing advice and assistance where we are able.

          Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment was made of the cost effectiveness of Mauser 27mm cannon armament for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft of the Royal Air Force in (a) airspace policing in peacetime and (b) ground attack missions. [121678]

          Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: We have assessed that the minimal operational utility of the Mauser cannon on Eurofighter in any role is outweighed by its support, fatigue and training cost implications, particularly given the capability of the advanced short- range air-to-air missiles with which the aircraft will be armed.

          Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the benefits of commonality of armament and interoperability for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft in the four nation production programme. [121682]

          16 May 2000 : Column: 97W

          Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: Potential benefits in commonality and interoperability between the four partner nations are a fundamental consideration when taking decisions on the Eurofighter programme.

          Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what combat advantages will be derived for Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft from the elimination of the Mauser 27mm cannon not possessed by the equivalent gun equipped aircraft in service with the Italian, German and Spanish air forces. [121684]

          Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: The advantages in deleting the Mauser cannon from our Eurofighter aircraft derive from avoiding the support, fatigue and cost implications which we would otherwise have to bear. These implications more than outweigh the minimal combat value in retaining the gun, particularly given the advanced short-range air-to-air missiles with which Eurofighter will be armed.

          https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmhansrd/vo000516/text/00516w09.htm

          • (Chris H) Farouk – Interesting that the good Dr Moonie didn’t seem to know that the Greek Government would not be discussing cannons with Eurofighter GmbH but rather with NETMA

            Which raises a thought: Given Tornado (the ‘T’ in NETMA) is now basically at the end of its life and Airbus (Spain & Germany) sees its future elsewhere should this body now be dissolved and a huge amount of money saved?

      • It is my understanding that CSG’s sail on deployments “full loaded for Bear” conventionally. In the fissile category – I have no idea…

        Cheers!

    • No US Navy Carrier Task Force sailing into the Mediterranean and into the Middle East where American forces are engaged in combat is not “fully loaded.” No SecDef would survive the wrath of Congress if that were to happen.

  4. How is a CBG going to enter the Med under a blockade by russian UUVs and nuclear-armed, long-range, AI controlled and networked torpedos? by the dozen or maybe hundreds.

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