The Biden administration has confirmed that it is sending the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean to support Israel.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the additional carrier is being sent “as part of our effort to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel.”
The Eisenhower will join the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group, which is already sailing near Israel, to bolster the US presence there with a host of destroyers, fighter aircraft and cruisers.
The Eisenhower deployed from its homeport of Norfolk, Va., Friday. Having two carriers in the region can provide a host of options.
They can disperse and serve as primary command and control operations centers, to cover a wide swath of area. They can conduct information warfare. They can launch and recover E2-Hawkeye surveillance planes that provide early warnings on missile launches, conduct surveillance and manage the airspace.
Both ships carry F-18 fighter jets that could fly intercepts or strike targets. They also have significant capabilities for humanitarian work, including an onboard hospital with medics, surgeons and doctors, and they sail with helicopters that can be used to airlift critical supplies in or victims out.