On 20 July 1997, as part of Joint Fleet Exercise 97-2, the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) with Commander, Carrier Group Seven, and Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW-9) embarked began a simulated high intensity strike campaign. Four days later, they had generated 771 strike sorties and had put 1,336 bombs on target.
In the post-Vietnam era, no other carrier and air wing have generated as much firepower in 98 hours. The surge, as it has come to be known, incorporated all facets of littoral strike warfare—from weapons buildup in the magazines to ordnance delivery.
Carrier Air Wing Nine flew 975 fixed-wing sorties during the four day surge. Figure 1 summarizes the surge by sortie type and day. Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) defined the terms: