Lethal auto-weaponry onboard US warship near Israel show it’s no ‘sitting duck’
The USS Gerald R. Ford has arrived in the Mediterranean after America sent its aircraft carrier to support Israel.
It is in the area to “deter any actor” looking to escalate the war with Hamas, the Biden administration announced yesterday.
The ship is armed with RIM-7 Sea Sparrow Anti-Air missiles and a Phalanx CIWS, a radar-guided 20mm auto cannon which can fire 4,500 rounds per minute.
Accounts on TikTok praised the warship, saying that despite its size, it is not a “sitting duck”.
The account artthunder99 noted the ship can travel 30 knots, or around 35mph.
Flanked by its Carrier Strike Group, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said: “The US maintains ready forces globally to further reinforce this deterrence posture if required.”
WHAT IS THE USS GERALD R. FORD?
The $18 billion nuclear-powered ship is the US Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier yet, and has capabilities that dwarf anything any other military force in the world. It is also the largest warship ever built.
Stretching 337m long, 78m wide from the flight deck, and 76m high, it also displaces 100,000 tonnes at full load.
The carrier’s size allows it to support up to 90 aircraft, including the fifth-gen F-35, as well as a number of UAVs.
To conduct all operations aboard the carrier, a crew of over 4,500 personnel is needed.
The Gerald R. Ford left Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia for her maiden deployment on October 4 last year.
But its presence in the Mediterranean marks the first full deployment for the aircraft carrier.
HOW MUCH DID THE USS GERALD R. FORD COST?
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First laid down in November 2009, the Gerald R. Ford was built as an upgraded version of the Nimitz-class.
Years of delay and costly setbacks meant the ship is one of the most expensive in history.
The warship cost about $18 billion to develop, including $4.7 billion for research and development and $12.8 billion for construction.
Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia called the ship a “$13 billion nuclear-powered floating berthing barge” in 2019.
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WHAT IS THE GERALD R. FORD IN THE REGION FOR?
National security adviser Jake Sullivan stressed that the movement of US ships is meant to act as a deterrent against attacking Israel.
“Let me be clear, we did not move the carrier for Hamas,” he said. “We moved the carrier to send a clear message of deterrence to other states or nonstate actors that might seek to widen this war.”
However, the Strike Group’s presence has incensed leaders like Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s President.
He said yesterday that the US sending the aircraft carrier could result in “massacres”.
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