The U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, a Nimitz Class aircraft carrier, departed from Norfolk Monday and is now steaming towards the Middle East to support combat operations against the Islamic State, according to a Navy Times report.
The Truman, along with accompanying ships and submarines—known as a Carrier Strike Group—will arrive in the coming weeks for a seven-month deployment. The deployment was scheduled prior to the Paris terrorist attacks that killed more than 120 people. According to the Navy Times report, there has been no changes in the strike group’s deployment plans.
The more than 1,000ft long aircraft carrier boasts a full compliment of carrier-based aircraft that are a part of Carrier Air Wing Seven. The wing includes a number of subordinate squadrons that fly aircraft such as the F/A-18 multi-role fighter, the Seahawk helicopter, and the Airborne Warning & Control System capable E2 Hawkeye.
In October, the U.S.S Theodore Roosevelt departed the region, leaving a gap in carrier-based capabilities until the Truman arrives in the coming weeks.
In the interim, coalition and U.S. aircraft have been flying out of Incirlik airbase in Turkey and other airbases in the region.
Currently the Truman is one of 10 super carriers in service with the U.S. Navy, one short of the mandated 11. The U.S.S. Gerald Ford, a carrier built to replace the just-decommissioned U.S.S. Enterprise, won’t be ready until 2021, according to Navy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Sean Stackley.
Stackley, speaking to the House Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee earlier this month, said that the delay in construction is due in part to current budget restraints placed on the Pentagon—known as sequestration.
The Truman will enter the 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility with the cruiser the U.S.S Anzio as well as three Arleigh-Burke class destroyers, the U.S.S. Bulkeley, Gravely and Gonzalez, according to the Navy Times report.