>> US fighter jets are leading the air assault on Mosul. As forces try to retake the Iraqi city from Islamic state. Up to a quarter of air strikes are carried out by the US Navy's Fifth Fleet. The USS Eisenhower looms large floating in the Arabian Gulf. Home to over 5,000 people working around the clock.
We hopped aboard this giant warship to get a glimpse inside one of the world's largest floating airports.>>
]>> Everyone on ship is trained to be a firefighter, that's our main job, we have to save the ship. So everyone on board has to go through aircraft firefighting.>> Up on the deck jets are flying missions day and night.
These types of emergency drills happen regularly on the ship.>>
Moving the aircraft on and off this tiny runway is a complex operation. Dozens of crew can be working on here at any one time. Twice a day the crew walks the deck searching for the smallest piece of debris. Anything that might have fallen that can get stuck in the engine.
The most dangerous moment is when the jet is landing. The pilot must catch one of four cables with his tail hook. When it comes to launching Lieutenant Bryce, known as a shooter, hits the final button to catapult jets off the ship. He says it's been a busy few months.
>> As long as we're here we're not gonna let the region get into a sense of chaos. We're here to provide some sense of stability.>> Underneath, there's a rabid warren of corridors where the sailors live and work. 22 stories high, there's everything, from a gym to a Starbucks.
For the fighter pilots, missions to Mosul have now been stepped up. Timeframes are not discussed, but they say, with Islamic State embedded amongst civilians, it's a tough job.>> It will be a challenge moving forward. We've been out here for I guess over four months now dealing with some of the same challenges.
We've had other urban areas that we've been working in, just nothing as large as Mosul.