A recent video from the US Naval Institute takes us aboard the USS John C. Stennis with the 9th Carrier Wing to detail the role, functions, and capabilities of every single plane and helicopter on the ship.
The US’s 10 operational aircraft carriers each measures nearly 1,100 feet in length, house as many as 6,000 sailors, and support more than 70 aircraft. These are some of the most complex and imposing machines ever made by man.
From providing mobile air superiority and striking ground targets to jamming enemy radar, hunting submarines, or routine logistics support, the Carrier Wing group has a tool for each job.
Get an inside look below at the air power that the US Navy’s 9th Carrier Wing can bring to bear on short notice to any location in the world.
REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Benjamin Crossley/Handout
The plane serves a dual purpose as a “both a fighter and an attack airplane,” meaning it can engage enemy aircraft with “all the different types of missiles and weapons systems,” as well as hitting all targets on the ground.
“For the attack role, they can shoot almost all weapons in the US inventory,” Capt. Rich ‘Snap’ Brophy, the commander of Carrier Air Wing 9, told the US Naval Institute.
US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Chris Cavagnaro
Though it looks almost identical to the F-18, the E/A-18G Growler has a totally different role.
“Anytime a radar sets off any type of signal, this airplane is able to pick up that signal, classify it, locate it, and hopefully target it if it needs to,” Brophy explains.
Brophy describes the E-2 as the “quarterback in the sky.” The large propeller-driven plane carries a giant radar on top and shares that information with the entire strike group.
“They help link one warfare commander to the other commanders and really help ensure that the picture is fused across all the various warfare commanders,” Brophy said.
The MH-60 Sierra can be used as a utility helicopter, bringing people and freight where they need to be. Or it “can also be heavily outfitted.”
Brophy said the Sierra can be armed with door-mounted machine guns, rockets, guided or unguided, forward-firing weapons in the case that SEALs need to be deployed or a downed aviator needs to be picked up.
An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Raptors of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 prepares to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis as the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung Hoon follows behind during a show of force transit in 2015.
The other helicopter variant aboard the carrier is the MH-60 Romeo, primarily used for anti-surface warfare.
“It’s got a phenomenal radar that can see vast ranges, locate, classify, identify, and then ultimately target any type of ship that’s out there,” Brophy said.
Additionally, the MH-60 can hunt submarines by spotting periscopes from incredible distances and placing listening devices above or below the surface of the sea.
Here’s the overview from the US Naval Institute.
See details of F-18E/F: HERE
See details of F-18G: HERE