The Directorate of Defence Communication at the Ministry of Defence announced the arrival of the US Navy aircraft carrier Essex (LHD-2) at Doha Port Sunday in a predefined visit, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
The visit of the US Navy amphibious assault ship USS Essex, the largest American Naval vessel ever to visit Qatar, comes within the joint military co-operation between Qatar and the US to combat terrorism and extremism.
The visit also reaffirms the US commitment to regional security, protect freedoms, ensure the flow of business activity in the region and the surrounding navigation routes, as well as express friendship and deepen bilateral partnerships.
The USS Essex carries the members of the US Navy's 13th reconnaissance squadron, consisting of nearly 1,600 persons of the total of 3,000 aboard the warship. The Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 of the reconnaissance squadron is the first US Naval Force and Marines equipped with the F-35B Lightning II, the most advanced fifth-generation fighter to arrive the region for the first time.
The USS Essex was welcomed by a number of Qatar Armed Forces officers and the US embassy charge d'affaires William Grant, QNA added.
In a statement, Grant said, "The visit of the USS Essex, an incredible display of naval technology, in Qatar is another example of the importance of the US and Qatar's strategic partnership and demonstrates the expansion of the military co-operation between our two countries."
The USS Essex is among the largest class of ships in the US Navy. The Wasp-class is a class of Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) amphibious assault ships operated by the US Navy. The USS Essex was built at Pascagoula, Mississippi, and commissioned on 17 October 1992.
At 844ft long and 44,000-tons full load, the USS Essex's primary mission is to conduct prompt, sustained operations at sea, primarily as the centerpiece and flagship of the Amphibious Ready Group. Designed to be versatile, the USS Essex can simultaneously employ helicopters, vertical/short takeoff and landing jet aircraft, and landing craft air cushioned, as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations. The ship's extensive medical facilities consist of six medical operating rooms, four dental operating rooms, medical laboratories and hospital facilities capable of caring for 600 patients.