The aircraft carrier Gerald Ford will be withdrawn from the eastern Mediterranean after being sent here to deter pro-Hamas forces involved in the Gaza war.
The Gerald Ford aircraft carrier strike group will return to Norfork port, Virginia, “in the next few days” as originally scheduled to prepare for the next deployment, ABC News on January 1 quoted two officials as saying unnamed US official said.
Gerald Ford, America’s most modern aircraft carrier model, was redirected to the eastern Mediterranean after Hamas forces launched a coordinated attack on Israeli territory on October 7. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said at that time that this was a move to deter Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and Iran, preventing these allies of Hamas from escalating the conflict.
Last month, Secretary Austin continued to extend the deployment of the Gerald Ford ship in the Mediterranean in the context that tensions in this region have not yet cooled down.
The unnamed US official emphasized that the withdrawal of the Gerald Ford had been planned in advance, adding that the US still had many forces in the region and could deploy more destroyers and cruisers to the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean. Middle East region in case of need.
The US Department of Defense declined to comment on the information. “We have nothing to announce yet,” the agency said.
In addition to the USS Gerald Ford, the US has another aircraft carrier battle group in the Middle East, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. This group of ships was initially ordered to deploy to the Mediterranean but was redirected to the Persian Gulf to deter Iran after the Israel-Hamas conflict broke out.
The ship currently operates in the Gulf of Aden in southern Yemen, an area that has recently become tense as the Houthis, another ally of Hamas, repeatedly attack shipping in the Red Sea with missiles and drones ( UAV). The Houthi group claimed this was a move to pressure Israel to force the country to end its campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Many destroyers in the Gerald Ford and Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier strike groups are being deployed to prevent Houthi raids and protect maritime activities in the Red Sea. On December 31, helicopters from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the ship USS Gravely sank three boats of Houthi forces when the group was trying to land on the container ship Maersk Hangzhou in the Red Sea.
All the gunmen on these boats were killed, while another boat was able to escape.
USS Gerald Ford is the world’s largest aircraft carrier, with a length of 337 meters and can carry 75 aircraft, while the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is 332 meters long and can carry 60 aircraft. The United States regularly deploys aircraft carriers to strategically important areas to demonstrate its power at sea and protect this country’s or its allies’ interests.