The United States sends military reinforcements, including the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford, to the Middle East, reinforcing its commitment to Israel after attacks by Hamas.
Following the recent attack carried out by the terrorist group Hamas, the United States has begun the deployment of warships and aircraft to the region, with the aim of providing support to Israel in its response. This move includes the dispatch of an aircraft carrier group from Norfolk, Virginia, along with dozens of aircraft headed to US military bases in the Middle East. In addition, it is reported that special operations forces already collaborate with the Israeli army in planning and intelligence tasks.
The first shipment of additional ammunition has arrived at its destination, and more supplies are expected to arrive shortly. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, is scheduled to visit Israel to discuss collaboration between both countries.
The measure adopted by the United States arises from concerns that the escalation of violence between Hamas and Israel could lead to a larger regional conflict. Therefore, the main purpose of this military deployment is to manifest a strong presence in the area to dissuade groups such as Hezbollah and Iran from intervening in the conflict.
Regarding the military support that the United States is providing, Lloyd Austin reported on the sending of essential personnel and ammunition to Israel. Although the collaboration of a special operations cell in intelligence and planning tasks was mentioned, its mission is not to rescue hostages. The Biden administration supported this decision corroborated by White House spokesman John Kirby, who highlighted that Israel has not requested such intervention.
The United States is expediting the delivery of weapons orders previously agreed upon with Israel. President Joe Biden declared: “We are increasing additional military assistance, including munitions and interceptors, to resupply Iron Dome.” This system has been essential for Israel in intercepting rockets launched by Hamas, managing to neutralize most of the more than 5,000 projectiles fired recently.
US aid is not only limited to Iron Dome but will also include advanced ammunition kits that improve the accuracy and effectiveness of conventional bombs.
The Gerald R. Ford, with a crew of approximately 5,000 men, has been relocated to the eastern Mediterranean. Beyond its combat capability, this aircraft carrier is a primary center for command and control operations. She can launch and recover E2-Hawkeye surveillance aircraft with a 7-meter diameter disc-shaped radar. These aircraft are essential for the early detection of missile launches, surveillance and airspace management.
In addition, the Ford is equipped with F-18 fighters, suitable for intercepting or attacking targets. It also stands out for its humanitarian capabilities: it has a hospital on board with an ICU, an emergency room and a team of around 40 medical professionals. Their equipment is complemented by helicopters that can be used to transport essential supplies or evacuate victims.
On the other hand, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier strike group is scheduled to set sail this Friday from Norfolk, Virginia, to the Mediterranean. Although it was already scheduled to be deployed in that region, the simultaneous presence of the Eisenhower and Ford could be a strategy of the Biden administration, as mentioned by White House spokesman John Kirby.
In relation to the Air Force, the Pentagon has requested reinforcements in the A-10, F-15 and F-16 squadrons at bases in the Middle East. Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall, stated that units that were about to return to the United States would remain in their current positions along with the units that would replace them.
The US Air Force took decisive action last week after receiving orders to shoot down a Turkish drone in Syria. This action was deemed necessary due to the perception of an imminent threat to US ground forces present in the region.
The American air presence in the area is not something new. They have a considerable air force intended primarily for both manned and unmanned operations, especially in Syria. Additionally, in response to the recent attacks in Israel, Air Force C-17 aircraft have been carrying out landing and takeoff operations in the country. According to an Air Force statement, these transport planes were picking up US military personnel who were in Israel for a scheduled military exercise, which had not yet begun at the time of the attacks.
So far, neither the Air Force nor Central Command have commented on possible additional missions that US aviation may take on in relation to the current conflict.
In related news, British media reported on Thursday that the United Kingdom has decided to deploy patrol and surveillance aircraft, along with two Royal Navy ships, to the eastern Mediterranean. Official Downing Street sources confirmed that this deployment is intended to “support Israel .” In addition, it seeks to “track threats to regional stability, such as the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups,” according to the BBC. The Times newspaper added that the ships RFA Argus and RFA Lyme Bay will be sent to the region and that surveillance flights will be carried out over Israel .