US Navy's 'Battle Axe' air wing brings range of capabilities to Middle East


Carrier Air Wing 3, known as the 'Battle Axe,' is the core of the deterrent provided by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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An F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet, attached to the 'Wildcats' of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, lands aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. [US Navy]
An F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet, attached to the 'Wildcats' of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, lands aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. [US Navy]

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower's carrier air wing enables the strike group to conduct a variety of offensive and defensive capabilities to ensure air superiority in an area of operations, deter and strike hostile forces and support other missions as needed.

Carrier Air Wing 3 (CVW-3), known as the "Battle Axe," consists of about 90 aircraft in nine squadrons.

These include Strike Fighter Squadron 105 (VFA-105), "Gunslingers"; VFA-32, "Fighting Swordsmen"; VFA-83, "Rampagers"; and VFA-131, "Wildcats," totaling up to 40 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jets.

Meanwhile, Electronic Attack Squadron 130 (VAQ-130), "Zappers," provides electronic attack and electronic warfare support with its EA-18G Growlers.

Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123 (VAW-123), "Screwtops," operates E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft.

The final fixed-wing squadron is Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 (VRC-40), "Rawhides," flying C-2 Greyhounds.

Two rotary-wing squadrons also assigned to the wing fly MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopters: Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 7 (HSC-7), "Dusty Dogs," and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74 (HSM-74), "Swamp Foxes."

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group (CSG) arrived in the Middle East after passing through the Suez Canal on November 4, according to a release from Naval Forces Central Command.

Originally slated to deploy to the European Command area of operations, the carrier group was diverted to the Middle East to strengthen deterrence following the Hamas terrorist assault on Israel on October 7.

As of November 26, the Eisenhower CSG had transited the Strait of Hormuz and is operating in Gulf.

Varied capabilities

The Super Hornets of CVW-3 perform fleet air defense and close air support as well as forward air controller (airborne) and aerial tanking roles, according to the US Navy.

Their armaments include a 20mm M61A1/A2 Vulcan cannon; AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; Harpoon anti-ship missiles; HARM anti-radar missiles; SLAM/SLAM-ER, AGM-65 Maverick and Joint Standoff Weapon strike missiles; and various guided and unguided air-to-ground weapons.

Electronic warfare missions are conducted by the EA-18G Growler, which is based on the Super Hornet aircraft.

It is equipped with ALQ-99 tactical jamming pods, an ALQ-218 receiver, an ALQ-227 communication countermeasure set and Joint Tactical Terminal-Receiver, and can also carry AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles and HARM anti-radar missiles.

The E-2C Hawkeye provides airborne early warning and command-and-control for the CSG and its air wing through the APS-139 or APS-145 radar mounted atop the fuselage.

The rotating radar has a diameter of 24 feet (7.3 meters), according to

Meanwhile, the C-2 Greyhound, which is derived from the Hawkeye for the carrier onboard delivery role, can transport up to 10,000 pounds (4,540kg) of cargo from ship to shore and vice versa.

Lastly, the MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopters are employed in missions ranging from vertical replenishment and combat search and rescue to combat support tasks such as anti-surface warfare.

Air superiority

CVW-3 was established in 1938 and is among the oldest air wings in the Navy.

The "Battle Axe" participated in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 1989, two F-14 Tomcat fighters assigned to CVW-3 shot down two Libyan MiG-23 jets during freedom of navigation operations in the Central Mediterranean.

The wing has about 2,500 personnel covering all aviation specialties to operate, maintain and support the fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft on the Eisenhower.

Wing personnel assist in the planning, control, coordination and integration of the squadron for air combat missions, according to the Navy.

The core mission is to intercept and destroy hostile aircraft and missiles in support of local air superiority.

The wing can also perform the air-to-surface detection, localization and destruction of enemy ships and submarines in support of local sea control; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for naval and joint operations; airborne early warning and control to fleet forces and shore installations; airborne electronic warfare; in-flight refueling; and search and rescue.

The presence of a carrier and its air wing deters enemies and assures allies in a crisis as well as providing a platform for training and partnership.

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Is there a state in the world with no internationally-recognised borders? On what basis has America recognised the so-called Israel? The return of stolen items is the basis of resolving all problems. Have we heard that America demanded its gang to return the settlements which they had stolen from the Palestinians? America is nothing but a coloniser who had stolen the land of Red Indians after eliminating 140 million of them, and it wants to repeat the same game with Arabs.


The American army is a failure. It’s not capable of resolving any battle on the ground, from Japan, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, the Balkans, Iraq to Afghanistan, and today in Syria and Palestine. It's capable only of wreaking havoc, sponsoring terrorism, killing civilians, including women, children and old people. It's good at looting and stealing peoples' resources. But, if it is faced with a real test, the situation becomes clear in Ukraine against the Russian bear. The American army sponsors terrorism, kills civilians, loots, steals, kills children, women and old people. If it faces a real army, it becomes like chicken.


In fact, it's a terrorist state that sponsors Israel's terrorism.