WASHINGTON: The US Navy has redeployed warships in the Middle East for any potential strikes against Syria, defence officials said yesterday.
The destroyer USS Mahan has left the Mediterranean while a battle group of warships led by the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz is on its way to the Red Sea from the Indian Ocean, an official said.
The Mahan is “on its way to Norfolk,” the ship’s home port in Virginia, the defence official said. The departure of the Mahan reduced the number of US destroyers in the Mediterranean to four. Each of the warships is equipped to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles against targets in Syria if ordered to by US President Barack Obama.
The US Navy keeps secret the precise number of Tomahawks on board but most military analysts estimate each ship carries about 45 cruise missiles.
The Pentagon normally keeps three destroyers in the Mediterranean, under the command of the Navy’s Sixth Fleet, with a mission primarily focused on missile defence. The US military has also sent an amphibious transport ship, the USS San Antonio, to the region.