Home » Sea » Destroyer Mahan Leaves Mediterranean and Heads Home

Destroyer Mahan Leaves Mediterranean and Heads Home

by Mike Hoffman on September 5, 2013

121228-N-YF478-002The U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Mahan has left the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and headed to her home port of Naval Station Norfolk, Va., according to multiple media reports.

Navy leaders ordered the Mahan to extend its deployment as the U.S. increased its presence in the region surrounding Syria. President Barack Obama has sought authorization from Congress to strike Syria after U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin gas in the extend Syrian civil war killing over 1,400 people including women and children.

The Mahan carries about 90 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) that many expect will be the weapon used should a strike be ordered.

Four U.S. destroyers will remain in the Mediterranean Sea: USS Stout, USS Ramage, USS Barry and USS Gravely. The Ramage was originally scheduled to replace the Mahan. All four also carry TLAMs.

The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Nimitz also sailed to the Red Sea to provide forces to the Syrian region.

Congress is expected to vote on an authorization next week. A Senate panel started the vote approving authorization in a vote 10–7 on Wednesday.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Nadnerbus September 5, 2013 at 2:19 am

I don't think it carries that many Tomahawks. That is the total (or close to it) number of VLS cells, and I'm sure most carry SAMs.

I'd put money that one of the converted Ohio SSGNs is on station by now. 150 Tomahawks just waiting for tasking.

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Guest September 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Yeah but are there that many tomahawks available and is the sub fully provisioned? After iraq, the inventory was so low that most of the nucs were revamped to conventional warheads and the yearly acquisition totals would take ten years to get back up to a nominal inventory level. They are still so short that when a ship returns from deployment, it's weapons are cross loaded to a ship going out on deployment, leaving the in port ships magazines empty. The dems don't want any weapons at hand that could possibly be used by law abiding citizens against criminals in the government!

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Musson September 5, 2013 at 8:57 am

"If you have a red line… you didn't set that. Someone else made it happen!"

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John Deere September 5, 2013 at 9:06 am

The League of Nations set the "red line" in 1925; it was a red line even Hitler respected.

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Mike September 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

I don't think Hitler did. I think the chemicals he used in the concentration camps to exterminate the prisoners (who were mostly innocent civilians). It just doesn't seem right to use the term respect and Hitler in the same sentence.

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Thunder350 September 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Hey, Hitler wasn't such a bad guy… he's a role model for today's youth! He had a dream and he pursued it, he even died doing what he loved! Not many people can claim that.

(Obviously sarcasm, but many "older" people have a hard time figuring these things out it seems)

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PolicyWonk September 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm

You are correct. Hitler was a mere corporal in WW1, where he served with some distinction. But he also had clear memories of the use of poison gas, and certainly didn't want them used against his troops.

Both sides trained and equipped their troops to deal with chemical warfare just in case, because neither trusted the other to not use them. No one wanted to be the one to use them first.

The Germans did use Zyklon-B (I believe), in the gas chambers during their infamous "final solution" to exterminate millions of people.

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Nick September 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Hitler used poison gas in controlled conditions, it wasn't deployed as a munition, it wasn't used as a weapon of mass destruction, on the battlefield.

You would have to mangle John's post to find an implication for a "respect for Hitler", as you're implying.

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BlackOwl18E September 5, 2013 at 11:49 am

Gee, I guess when Saddam used chemical weapons against Iran and on his own people that was fine back then. Apparently we have to have double standards for Syria.

Jon Stewart's take on Syria is quite entertaining: http://www.ijreview.com/2013/09/77056-operation-j

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jamesb September 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

I wonder what air assets the US has been moving into the theatre?

No media mention on that angle at all….

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Bronco46 September 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm

There should be no mention of military deployments in the media; unless that mention is a tactic. The media should not be digging into and announcing movement, and capabilities; those kinds of stories cost lives and damage foreign policy.

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hibeam September 5, 2013 at 1:04 pm

It will be replaced by the Apology Frigate USS Weasel.

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AegisCG64 September 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Nanderbus – you are correct. A DDG has a full VLS launcher and a half … 96 cells, and I can't see a DDG having more TLAM's than SM's. They would have been loaded out for a deployment.

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AegisCG64 September 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm

96 cells minus the cells for the loading crane … can't remember how many it takes.

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Crusty Old Chief September 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm

The two cranes occupy three cells each bring available cells down to 90. What the loadout for deployment might be is, naturally, classified. But, one might hazard a guess that about half of the cells are loaded with SM2 birds (ESSM only on DDG-79 forward), and one or more VLA. That is just SWAG. Figure somewhere between 30 and 40 TLAMs if the old "shoot, shoot, look, shoot" AAW doctrine still applies. Nonethless, that's still a respectable amount of whoopass.

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Crusty Old Chief September 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm

FWIW, the cranes may have been removed in the 13 years since I sailed in her.

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extreme_one September 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Can someone with military experience answer my questions?! =)

1. If Syria managed to save some yakhont missiles(P-800 Oniks). Are US ships close enough for yakhont? I can see it has a range of 120-300 km. So basically from which distance would they be attacking?

2. Lets say Syria had received S-300 and the system is so great that it detects and takes out 100%. Is the systems missiles easy reloaded? Would they have bought enough 48N6E2 missiles to take out all tomahawks?

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Crusty Old Chief September 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm

OK, I'm bored so I'll bite.

What's the range of a TLAM? Now, would you position your ship (or, if you're the strike planner, would you put the launch basket) within striking distance of the enemy's ASuW capability? So, there's your first answer.

Who says that S-300 is so great? Where has it been battle tested? Who will be operating the system, Russians or Syrians? What sort of EW environment will the system be operating in? Who says that the S-300 system *itself* won't be the very first target? There's more moving parts than I think you may realize and there's more than one way to skin a cat.

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extreme_one September 13, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Thanks for the reply.

So basically you would place yourself outside the 300km range of P-800's and still easily reach all your targets inside Syria.

I think taking out ships and fight planes would be the Nr 1 priority if they are going to have any chance against US.

Since I posted my first posts we have learned that no strike will be happening.

I don't like wars at all and don't want anyone killed but I am very interested in technology and how different ones compare to each other.

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USS ENTERPRISE September 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm

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