The U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick Michael Shanahan, has approved the deployment of USS Arlington (LPD-24) and a Patriot battery to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) region as part of the command’s original request for forces from earlier this week.
The deployment of amphibious transport dock ship and is in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests, said a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) statement announcing the approval.
The Department of Defense continues to closely monitor the activities of the Iranian regime, their military and proxies, said the DoD statement. The statement didn’t revealed timelines or location of forces due to ‘operational security’.
The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready to defend U.S. forces and interests in the region, the statement added.
USS Arlington is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD) operated by the U.S. Navy that transports U.S. Marines, amphibious vehicles, conventional landing craft and rotary aircraft with the capability to support amphibious assault, special operations, or expeditionary warfare missions. USS Arlington also provides a high quality command and control capability and improved interoperability with our allies and partners in the region.
A Patriot battery is a long-range, all-weather air defense system to counter tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs), cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.
These new assets will join the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ABECSG) and a U.S. Air Force bomber task force in the Middle East region which were deployed earlier to the region.
The ABECSG strike group consists of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) with embarked Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW 7), Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers from Destroyer Squadron Two (DESRON 2) – USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Nitze (DDG 94) and Spanish Navy Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate, ESPS Mendez Nunez (F-104).
The Bomber Task Force (BTF) includes U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers, assigned to 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron based at Barksdale Air Force Base. The bombers arrived at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on May 8.