President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that US missiles are coming to strike Syria, despite Russia's threats to shoot down incoming US weapons.
President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that US missiles are coming to strike Syria, despite Russia's threats to shoot down incoming US missiles and even the platforms that fire them.
The US has struck Syria before, using cruise missiles from two US Navy guided-missile destroyers in the Mediterranean, but experts now say the US will have to go bigger to make an impact on Syria's forces under Russian protection.
With no aircraft carriers currently in the region, a heavy Russian naval presence in the region, and only 2,000 or so US troops on the ground in Syria, it may seem like the US is outnumbered or outgunned.
In reality, the US has massive airpower in the region which far overpowers anything else nearby.
Here's the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the aircraft carrier that just left the region. It has aircraft for logistics, air-to-air, air-to-ground, intelligence and surveillance, early-warning, and antisubmarine warfare. It's one of 11 US aircraft carriers, and as it stands it could make it back to the region within one week at full steam.
Here's a loaded F/A-18E. This one has an air-to-ground heavy load out, but still carries air-to-air missiles in case an enemy aircraft attacks the US or US-backed forces, as was the case when an F/A-18E had to shoot down a Syrian Su-22.
The crew can launch one of these every two minutes or so. F/A-18Es off the US aircraft carriers can fly thousands of sorties, or missions, during a single deployment.
But US aircraft carriers don't roll alone. Here's one resupplying from the USNS Supply.
Cruisers like the USS Hue City keep watch and provide missile defense for the aircraft carriers. The US currently has two guided-missile destroyers in the Mediterranean, with others that can make it there in short notice.
Each cruiser contributes dozens of cruise missiles, which the US used on April 7, 2017 after intelligence showed that Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces used chemical weapons on civilians.
While some Syrian forces are protected by Russian missile-defense systems, the US's combined naval firepower could overwhelm them in a heartbeat.
Here, a gunner keeps watch on the USS Truxtun, another guided-missile destroyer keeping US aircraft carriers safe.
Moving on to air power: The US has tried-and-tested platforms like F-16s and A-10s at Turkey's Incirlik Air Base …
… and heavy, nuclear-capable bombers at Qatar's Al Udeid Air Base.
Additionally, US ground forces in the region aren't exactly toothless. With high-mobility artillery rockets and howitzers on the ground, the US can do a lot of damage.
It also has squadrons of fighter jets in Jordan.
Another tool exclusive to the US is stealth aircraft. An F-22 Raptor can operate in the most heavily defended airspace in the world or dogfight with Syrian or Russian jets.
And that's not even counting the rest of the coalition — dozens of countries are contributing firepower and assistance to decimate ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
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