OK, since there is at least some interest I will use this thread for a weekly update of US Naval deployments, specifically the Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) and the Expeditionary Strike groups (ESG). The thread should sink to the bottom of the pile except for update day. This anchor post will serve as an introduction to the issue. Subsequent posts will detail the current deployment status of these groups.
The United States of America controls the world's oceans, period. No other Navy in he world is anywhere close to the USN in size or capability. The Russian fleet is rusting away. The Chinese fleet is growing, but nowhere near the capability of the US. France has one carrier and the British have a couple. None are as large as the typical CVN which is approximately 100,000 tons displacement. Most other navies are effectively 'coast guards' because they are incapable of projecting power.
An ESG is centered around a LHA, which is an amphibious assault ship. It looks like a small aircraft carrier, about half the size of a CVN. It carries several helicopters, Harrier-type VTOL jets, and P-3 a Orion, which is used for radio intercept. There are usually a couple of lighter landing-dock type ships, a cruiser, and a couple of destroyers, plus an attack submarine that comprise the ESG. And, of course, a battalion of Marines as part of an MEU: Marine Expeditionary Unit. They sail in a pattern designed to protect the largest ships from enemy fire and submarines. There are only six ESGs operational at this time. They are designed, of course, to put boots on the ground anywhere anytime. Be advised, however, that though an MEU typically has up to 4 M1A1 battle tanks, that Marines are basically light infantry, not heavy armor.
A CSG is the same sort of thing centered around a CVN (Nuclear powered carrier) with the same kind of escort ship capable of defending the group from both air, water, and underwater attack. The carrier's Air Wing is composed usually of four squadrons of F/A-18 Hornets, plus a complement of support aircraft such as Prowlers (radar jammers), Vikings (anti-submarine), etc. There are currenly eleven CVN's in the US Fleet, though not all are currently deployable because of refits, etc.
BTW, a CVN is VERY fast. Published accounts will allow them 30 knots. Don't you believe it. These suckers put out a rooster tail higher than the flight deck when they get moving. They leave the rest of the fleet far behind if they want to in an emergency.
Subsequent posts will be confined to telling you the current status of both CSG and ESG units. This is not the only deployable kind of group, of course. Destroyers, frigates, and cruisers can sometimes form their own units for specific reasons, but he CSG/ESG is currently the most common and most powerful form the USN uses to project power around the globe. As for the SSBNs. Nobody knows where they are at any given time. That's kind of the point.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
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