USS Eisenhower entered the Med Sea not to pound Daesh but to test alternative fuel

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) supports the Great Green Fleet initiative.

The USS Eisenhower and the ship of its CSG entered the Mediterranean Sea through the Strait of Gibraltar on Jun. 13, 2016.

The IKE CSG consists of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Monterey (CG 61), and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 with its associated guided-missile destroyers USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Mason (DDG 87), USS Nitze (DDG 94) and USS Stout (DDG 55).

With the arrival of IKE CSG, two are the carrier strike groups operating in the 6th Fleet AOO (Area Of Operations): USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is also in the Med conducting combat sorties in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led air war on Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

The presence of two flattops demonstrates the mobility, flexibility and power projection capability of the USN as well as Washington’s commitment to safety and security in the region.

However, IKE CSG is not operating in the Med to pound Islamic State targets, at least for the moment: as part of the Great Green Fleet Initiative, which emphasizes use of energy conservation measures as a key combat enabler to allow ships to go farther, stay longer and deliver more firepower, USS Eisenhower will conduct Great Green Fleet operations in Europe. These will involve a multi-day passing exercise (PASSEX) with units of the Italian Navy’s Flotta Verde highlighting energy conservation operations involving refueling at sea (RAS) event during which an Italian oiler will refuel IKE CSG ships with advanced alternative fuel (F76 equivalent).

According to the DoD “the centerpiece of the Great Green Fleet is a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) that deploys on alternative fuels, including nuclear power for the carrier and a blend of advanced biofuel made from beef fat and traditional petroleum for its escort ships. These biofuels have been procured by DON [Department Of Navy] at prices that are on par with conventional fuels, as required by law, and are certified as “drop-in” replacements that require no engine modifications or changes to operational procedures. The CSG also uses energy-efficient technologies and operating procedures referred to as Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) during the course of its normal operations.”

Even though the IKE CSG does not take part in the raids, the Truman is not the only naval aviation force conducting air strikes on Daesh: U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers flying from USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Arabian Gulf joined have joined Operation Inherent Resolve, marking the first naval aviation combat strike missions of OIR launched from Navy warships in two different operational theaters.

 

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About David Cenciotti 3634 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.