The U.S.S. Eisenhower: one of the most advanced ‘super carriers’ in the U.S. Navy’s arsenal. Fresh off a $2.5 billion overhaul, the ‘Ike’ is poised to deploy for the first time in four years. But first, her 6,000-strong crew must prove they and their aircraft are ready for the grueling demands of flight operations in a war zone. Seventy per cent of the Ike’s crew is new, but to succeed, every one of them must execute their job flawlessly. And they must excel in one of the most dangerous work environments on the planet, where one wrong move can put hundreds of lives in jeopardy.
Join National Geographic Explorer on a wild ride on board the U.S.S. Eisenhower to experience what it’s like to catapult off the deck in an F/A-18 as it rockets from zero to 150 miles per hour in two seconds; to dodge jet exhaust and stand nose-to-nose with fighter jets on the flight deck and to drop laser-guided bombs from a Super Hornet for the last time before combat. From the captain and the Air Boss high above the flight deck, down to the mechanics in the hangar bay, we take the viewer for an immersive voyage on board. During her final two-week trials before combat, the Ike faces a series of grueling tests to prove she is ready to command her fleet in battle. Ike’s pilots fly round the clock to make sure they are ready for war-like flight schedules. The crews are put to the test during 16-hour shifts in furnace-like conditions on the flight deck. The Air Boss keeps a close eye on every movement on deck; he has fifty million-dollar jets and the lives of hundreds in his hands. Overseeing it all is the ship’s captain, the man with the success of the entire armada resting on his shoulders. He must prove to the Navy brass that his ship is ready for the call to action. On the cruise, we set sail with some compelling characters: a veteran pilot and his rookie pilot, whose nerves are put to the test; a female weapons systems officer on her first deployment, who needs to perfect her precision bombing skills before dropping bombs on real targets; an aircraft director – during 24/7 flight ops, he must keep his focus sharp in an environment where any misstep can kill; and the Air Boss – it’s his job to get his flight crews on and off the carrier safely. There is no margin for error. Will the Ike pass her final test and get her payload of over one million pounds of ordnance? She must in order to prove she deserves the title of super carrier.
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