Monday, May 23, 2011

George Bush bound for Portsmouth after war games with Royal Navy

THE world’s newest and most powerful surface ship arrives in the Solent this weekend – after playing games with the best of British.
USS George H W Bush will be weekending in Stokes Bay on her maiden deployment, fresh from exercising in the Western Approaches with HMS Dauntless and Gloucester.
Exercise Saxon Warrior is one of the largest war games hosted by the Royal Navy in UK waters in recent years with other NATO forces, plus RAF and British Army units.

Dauntless and Gloucester (which took part in the early stages of the exercise made her final entry to Portsmouth today) tested their ability to direct the aerial battle over the naval force.
Which must have been quite a battle: the 97,000-ton Bush carries in excess of 70 aircraft from eight squadrons – a mix of F18 jets, Seahawk helicopters, and E2C ‘eye in the sky’ AWACs planes – and 6,000-plus sailors and aircrew. There’s also a six-strong RN liaison team aboard the flattop.
Saxon Warrior is intended to hone the skills of the Bush Carrier Strike Group – which comprises the cruisers USS Gettysburg and Anzio, plus destroyers Truxtun and Mitscher – so it can work smoothly with European forces during its current deployment.
“The George H W Bush Strike Group is well prepared for this deployment,” said Rear Admiral Nora Tyson, the task group commander – and the first female admiral of a US carrier force.
“We’re delighted to be participants in Saxon Warrior. It provides an ideal opportunity for all the ships in the group to enhance our ability to operate seamlessly and effectively with other NATO units.”
The exercise reaches its climax in the middle of the week, with the Bush carrier group also taking part in a ‘Thursday War’ off Plymouth – the Royal Navy’s traditional workout for its surface ships, run by the Flag Officer Sea Training.
From there the carrier battle group breaks up, with the Gettysburg heading into Devonport, the rest of the ships making for Portsmouth.
The 1,100ft supercarrier – commissioned at the beginning of 2009 – is too large to enter Portsmouth Harbour so will drop anchor in the sheltered waters of Stokes Bay. She's due to arrive on Friday morning.


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