With the tour of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford through the eastern Mediterranean, the robust alliance between the United States and Israel is evident, contrasting with historical tensions and sending a clear message to regional actors such as Iran and Hezbollah.
History and Diplomacy: From tensions to a strengthened alliance
Recalling the 1970s, US President Gerald Ford raised tensions with Israel after reconsidering relations in the wake of failed post-Yom Kippur War talks with Egypt. However, the presence of the USS Gerald Ford underscores the strength of the bilateral relationship, especially under Joe Biden.
This naval deployment highlights US support for Israel in times of crisis similar to the 1973 confrontation, acting as a warning to regional adversaries.
Military Capabilities: The Awesome Power of the USS Gerald Ford
The USS Gerald Ford is a key piece in the security and defense strategy, with the ability to autonomously attack Lebanon, Syria or Iran. She benefits from American refueling aircraft from the Emirates and is supported by five destroyers in her battle group.
Recently added to the US nuclear aircraft carrier fleet, it cost more than $13 billion to build, not including planes and helicopters. Despite its imposing appearance and advanced capabilities, initial problems delayed its full operation for five years.
At 333 meters long and 78 meters wide, the Ford stands out for being the first completely new aircraft carrier in 40 years. Its design seeks to minimize radar detection and improve efficiency, including an electrical aircraft launch system and two nuclear reactors that generate 600 kilowatts.
Aircraft and Armament: Air and defensive arsenal of the aircraft carrier
USS Gerald Ford hosts F-18 E/F semi-stealth aircraft, F-18 Growlers, Seahawk helicopters, Hawkeye early warning aircraft, and Greyhound transport aircraft. She has anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, Phalanx machine guns and a melee defense system. Accompanying destroyers offer an additional layer of missile defense.
Although it is not official, Ford’s planes have the capacity to carry and launch nuclear weapons in addition to their conventional weapons.
Life on Board: Everyday life on the USS Gerald Ford
Operated by 4,539 people, the Ford has fewer crew members than the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. Among them is a Labrador named Sage, who adds a touch of relief and distraction to everyday life. Unlike film depictions, life on the aircraft carrier is arduous. During their six-month missions, the crew has few opportunities to return home.
However, various amenities and services, such as a supermarket, laundry and gym, are offered on board. In addition, a team of 93 people attends to culinary needs, serving varied and themed dishes, from tacos to pizzas, from dawn to midnight.