USS Harry S. Truman launched strikes against ISIL from the Mediterranean Sea. Also a response to Russia growing influence in the region.
On Jun. 3, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Truman launched air strikes against ISIL position from the Mediterranean sea, marking the first time a carrier conducted combat operations from the 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) since 2003.
The Truman CSG (Carrier Strike Group) tour of duty, that has also included operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, in the Persian Gulf within the 5th Fleet AOR, has been recently extended by 1 month to fill the gap until the replacement carrier (USS Eisenhower) arrives. The extended tour of duty enables Truman to support US-led coalition’s air campaign against Daesh from the Med.
Until yesterday and for the last 13 years, the air strikes against targets in Iraq or Syria have always been launched by aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf or Indian Ocean with the Med used only as a transit “corridor” to Suez.
The raids from the Mediterranean Sea have opened a new direction of attack against the terrorist target in what many analysts consider an answer to Russia’s military presence in the region. In November 2015, two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers departed from a base in northwest Russia for a 13,000km journey around Europe, and launched cruise missiles against ground targets in Syria from over the Mediterranean Sea (while being escorted, approaching Syria, by at least three Su-30SM Flankers launched Latakia): a true air power demonstration.
Videos released by the U.S. Navy show, among the others, VFA-103 F/A-18F Super Hornets and VFA-25 F/A-18E Hornets launch (with 2x JDAM – Joint Direct Attack Munitions under the right wing and an ATFLIR pod and a laser-guided GBU under the left one) to carry out the first U.S. Navy air strikes from the Mediterranean Sea. The tactical warplanes were supported by VAW-117 E-2C Hawkeye.