US destroyer gives French-led mission the ability to strike targets 1,000 miles away

By Al-Mashareq

Lightning strikes the water as the USS Roosevelt transits the Strait of Messina on November 20. [US Navy]

Lightning strikes the water as the USS Roosevelt transits the Strait of Messina on November 20. [US Navy]

The USS Roosevelt, a destroyer equipped with some of the US Navy's most advanced weaponry, is providing an ongoing, French-led international mission the power to strike targets located deep in adversarial territory.

The Roosevelt, along with a number of US and allied naval vessels, is deployed as part of the French carrier strike group (CSG) Charles de Gaulle and Mission Antares, an operational deployment in the Mediterranean involving 3,000 service members from France and allied partners.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the most powerful aerial and land attack ship in the coalition mission, is working under the French commander of the Charles De Gaulle CSG.

The Roosevelt is equipped with the Aegis Combat System and Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) and Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) surface-to-air missiles for ballistic missile defence.

The USS Roosevelt accompanies the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle on November 21. [US Navy]

The USS Roosevelt accompanies the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle on November 21. [US Navy]

The vessel is also able to strike moving targets on land using Tomahawk cruise missiles; take out submarines using towed sonar array, rockets and helicopter strikes; and destroy ships using the Harpoon anti-ship missile.

The ship has 96 vertical launch cells capable of firing Tomahawk cruise missiles, which can hug the ground for 1,000 miles (1,600km).

While the Tomahawk flies more slowly than supersonic and hypersonic missiles, it has a much longer range.

The United States first used the Tomahawk in combat in Iraq in 1991. It has been subsequently used in Bosnia (1995), Libya (1996 and 2011), Sudan (1998), Yemen (2009), and Afghanistan (1998 and 2001-2021).

The missile also saw use in the fight against the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) and in the Syrian civil war.

The United States fired dozens of Tomahawk missiles in April 2017 in response to a chemical attack on the opposition-held city of Khan Sheikhoun carried out by the Syrian military.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross launched a total of 59 Tomahawks against Shayrat Air Base. They targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defence systems and radars.

Allied missions

"Our activities this month with the French navy will provide a key opportunity to interoperate with one of our oldest allies," Cmdr. John Mastriani, Roosevelt's commanding officer, said on November 11.

Starting last month, the Charles de Gaulle CSG teamed up with allied navies for Mission Antares in the Eastern Mediterranean, with the aim of significantly increasing France's presence in military operations in the Middle East and Africa for months to come.

Even as NATO contends with Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, member states -- including the United States -- have been maintaining a presence in strategic areas such as the Arabian Sea.

The Arabian Sea, which sits between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, is the waterway that all Iranian ships must pass to reach world ports, and a key link in China's "string of pearls".

The USS Roosevelt, Greek Navy Elli-class frigate Adrias, Italian Navy FREMM frigate Virginio Fasan and French Navy FREMM DA frigate Alsace are among the ships that the Charles de Gaulle has been seen operating alongside as part of Mission Antares.

In November, the Charles de Gaulle took part in drills involving four other NATO carriers -- the US aircraft carriers USS George H.W. Bush and USS Gerald R. Ford, the UK Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth and Italian carrier ITS Cavour.

The Roosevelt is based in Rota, Spain, making it a part of the US Navy's commitment to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Situated just north of the Strait of Gibraltar, Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota is a key forward presence facility that is well positioned to project US and NATO military power throughout the region, giving US commanders expanded options to carry out quick strikes against potential adversary targets across the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.

In the summer, the US Navy ordered two more Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to be based at Rota, joining four others already based there.

Basing the destroyers at Rota gives them the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, according to the US Navy.

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