Ike CSG teams up with US Air Force for joint air defense drill

The U.S. Navy’s Eisenhower carrier strike group (Ike CSG) and the U.S. Air Force conducted a joint air defense exercise (ADEX) in the Arabian Gulf, October 25.

The ADEX is conducted to improve integration of Navy and Air Force defense efforts while protecting aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) from simulated aerial threats.

The training was designed to simulate real-world scenarios the ship may encounter at sea.

According to the U.S. Navy, the exercise consisted of multiple platforms from both branches, including guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto and USS Monterey, guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper, and the squadrons of embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 aboard Ike.

“The exercise was a big accomplishment,” said Lt. Anand Jantzen, San Jacinto’s fire control officer and liaison officer aboard Ike. “Not only was the strike group still conducting our primary mission supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, but we also directed a joint exercise simultaneously.”

The U.S. Air Force provided two big-wing tankers and two F-22 Raptors from the “Bulldogs” of the 525th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to support 13 aircraft from the Ike CSG. During the exercise, both forces were utilized and divided into “red air” hostile threats and “blue air,” the strike group’s air defense force.

Red air’s objective was to overwhelm the CSG’s air defenses with simulated air-to-surface missiles. Aircraft flew missile profiles towards the surface ships so they could practice going through pre-planned responses and simulate shooting down anti-surface missiles.

The cruisers were tested in their ability to protect Ike, which acted as a high-value unit (HVU), and demonstrated their ability to conduct air defense.

“The main goal for the cruisers is to protect the HVU from air threats, and fill in as the alternate air intercept controllers in case the E-2C Hawkeye is unable to do so,” Jantzen said.