The US Navy's Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 sailors have begun US 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) operations in the Arabian Sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
USS Carl Vinson and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, including guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97), have been deployed on the mission for the second time and will relieve the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). CVW-17 consists of strike-fighter squadrons (VFA) 22, VFA-25, VFA-81 and VFA-113, electronic attack squadron 134, carrier airborne early warning squadron 125, fleet logistics support squadron 40 and helicopter anti-submarine squadron 15.
The deployment follows months of training, manning and equipping the CSG to successfully carry out safe air missions as well as maritime security operations and theatre security cooperation efforts.
Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class (AW) Kyle Pierce, the Operations Department's Communications Division Air Operations supervisor and departure controller, said: "We are doing our first sets of missions for troops on the ground."
The 333m-long, 41m-wide third Nimitz-class supercarrier has a full-load displacement of 101,300t and can accommodate a crew complement of approximately 5,680. The warship is equipped with an integrated communication advanced network (ICAN) throughout all areas of the ship, digital flat panels and titanium pistons for increased strength.
The aircraft carrier also incorporates rolling airframe missiles (RAM), which replace the Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) used on other carriers, in addition to Mk 29 Sea Sparrow missiles. USS Carl Vinson was deployed to the AOR in 2011, where it conducted 1,656 combat sorties in support of operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.