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Carriers at War

Carriers at War

  • Premiered: 
    May 20, 2018
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Smithsonian
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Military/War
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Plot Synopsis

Combining archival footage with aerial footage and combat missions filmed firsthand, CARRIERS AT WAR is a four-part documentary series that offers unique access to America's elite fleet of mighty aircraft carriers as they engage in real-world action -- giving viewers an intimate look at how the U.S. Navy maintains, operates and deploys to troubled spots around the globe. The series journeys aboard today's carriers -- some of the world's most powerful and the most technologically sophisticated in military history. Granted exclusive access by the U.S. Navy, the series embeds with the nuclear-powered USS George H.W. Bush as it travels into the Arabian Gulf during combat operations to help Iraqi ground troops defeat ISIS. The series also features the first-ever in-depth look at the construction and launch of the Navy's latest generation of carriers -- the multibillion-dollar, highly advanced and controversial supercarrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford. Viewers join air wing strike force pilots in the cockpit during real-life missions and learn about life aboard the giant vessels -- four-and-a-half acres of sovereign and mobile American territory that can bring lethal power and the hard arm of American diplomacy to conflict zones around the world. All on board are focused on the same goal: to safely and successfully launch and land its 70 aircraft - the F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornet jets dedicated to electronic attack, and the helicopters and cargo planes. CARRIERS AT WAR features special access from the United States Navy to the carriers currently on the frontlines, as well as candid firsthand interviews with active duty admirals, fighter pilots, air wing bosses, commander master chiefs, petty officers and a range of other personnel serving aboard several deployed vessels. The series opener, "Strike Force Arabian Gulf," showcases the role the U.S. Navy plays in maintaining stability in the Middle East region. Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, cameras capture the crew as they prepare for action and fulfill the Navy's mission statement: to deter aggression and maintain freedom of the seas. The USS Bush travels through the dangerous waters of the Suez Canal and prepares to launch airborne attacks against ISIS in Iraq. The flight deck is such a chaotic place that one petty officer likens it to "playing dodgeball with 60,000-pound jets." When the pilots return, tired and sore from a mission, they must land on a deck that heaves and sways with the sea.
On Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 8pm ET/PT, Smithsonian Channel premiered the season finale of CARRIERS AT WAR. The season ender focuses on the latest U.S. Navy supercarrier to be welcomed into the fleet: USS Gerald R. Ford, the most advanced warship ever built. This state-of-the-art, $14 billion behemoth was built to meet the demands of 21st century warfare, with new features and a new look -- it's the first new carrier design in over 40 years. Get an inside look at the ship's 13-year journey, from her construction at Newport News Shipbuilding to a technical snag that put the entire program at risk.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Red Rock Films