The US Navy is deploying a fourth aircraft carrier, USS Kitty Hawk, to the Middle East to support the military build-up ahead of an anticipated strike against Afghanistan. The Japan-based carrier sailed with only part of its regular 75 strong air group, which includes Grumman F-14 and Boeing F/A-18 fighters, leading to speculation that Kitty Hawk would support special forces helicopter operations. The US military build up in the Indian Ocean and Middle East is reported to have reached around 350 combat aircraft and over 28,000 troops. The aircraft are based in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

Source: Flight International