Five battle groups involving NATO nuclear and conventional aircraft carriers, American, French, British and Italian, are in the Mediterranean, with a force of 300 fighters and helicopters, with the task of deploying three of them to the Adriatic to “clean up” any Serb thoughts of intervention and the protection of its population in Mitrovica and other Albanian-occupied areas.
The remaining two will head south of Crete to be ready to intervene in the direction of the Russian naval base at Tartus or to support operations in the Black Sea.
Forces involved include the Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) formed to support the French Navy’s aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, the Italian Navy’s ITS Cavour, the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth, and the US Navy’s George Bush and Gerald R. Ford. Regarding the aforementioned US Navy aircraft carriers, USS George HW Bush has been reported to have been in the Mediterranean since August, when it took over from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). In turn, USS Gerald R. Ford was spotted off Portsmouth (Great Britain) yesterday.
This is the escalation of NATO mobilization and the most powerful peacetime battle group ever since World War II. Aircraft carriers escort 15 surface, combat and auxiliary ships. Two American AUGs will operate in the North Atlantic, North and Mediterranean seas, along with the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth (R08), the Italian Cavour (CVH 550) and the French Charles de Gaulle (R 91). Sabrina Singh, Pentagon spokeswoman, told reporters.
“These operations will enable Allied nations to practice coordinating critical combat power across the entire Euro-Atlantic region, as well as demonstrate NATO’s cohesion and interoperability. In addition, the exercise will test NATO’s deterrence and defense concepts across all geographic areas and operational areas of the alliance.”– the publication quotes the words of the press secretary of the US military department.
It is noted that the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, currently off the coast of Britain, in company with the British aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy HMS Queen Elizabeth and accompanying naval forces, will soon go to the North Atlantic to meet with the Russian fleet.
This list did not include the British AUG, led by the aircraft carrier Prince of Wales. There is evidence that this group patrols along the Norwegian coast at an insignificant distance from the Russian borders. While the NATO carrier groups’ patrols are at the limit of their ability to use Tomahawk cruise missiles, they will have to come much closer to Russian borders for aviation to operate. Since the combat radius of the aircraft deployed on them does not exceed 800 km. That is, for the normal use of fighter-bombers (taking into account the need for maneuvers in the air), these AUGs should be located approximately 500 km from their targets. True, there is an option with the organization of refueling in the air, but it is suitable for performing small-scale tasks, and when conducting massive air raids, this is in principle unfeasible.
In addition, to support its ground forces, the United States will most likely act according to a previously worked out scheme. If against Iraq in 2003 the Pentagon collected up to 5 AUGs only in the Persian Gulf and one more was in the Mediterranean Sea, near the Israeli and Lebanese coasts, then against Russia the United States will surely collect everything they have, both from the Atlantic and and from the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, we can conclude that so far Washington is not plotting anything serious against Russia. Here is the key word BYE.
In the meantime, Moscow is rapidly replenishing its naval and air arsenals with the Kinzhal and Zirkon hypersonic missile systems. It is these munitions that are relied upon when it comes to the non-nuclear destruction of enemy aircraft carriers and AUGs. However, in the event of a war, there is no doubt that the Kremlin would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons in response to an attack, as Putin has repeatedly stated.