America’s second oldest operational aircraft carrier, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) is hard at work in the Atlantic training with its escorts and air wing for its next deployment. Part of this training includes executing night operations, just as they would in combat. These photos capture this colorful but dangerous world in awesome detail.

A F/A-18 Super Hornet loaded down in the “Five Wet” tanker configuration blasts off the deck for a night refueling mission.

Green Shirts rig the barrier. In the event that an aircraft cannot land normally aboard the ship, such as if its gear will not extend or it will not be able to make another pass should it fail to catch one of the ship’s four arresting wires, and no emergency divert land-based airfield is within range, the barricade is rapidly erected to “catch” the aircraft as it passes over the deck.

Hornets utilize the “Ike’s” waist catapults under the glow of various light sources around the deck and the island.

One of the Ike’s .50 caliber machine guns is fired at a position pointed out via laser from the deck above.

Sailors point LA9-P Laser Hail and Warning Systems off the fantail of the Ike. These handheld lasers can be used to warn and/or distract approaching vessels as well as for pointing out targets for crew-served defensive light weaponry located around the Ike’s gunwale.

The Ike’s number one steam catapult rockets a Hornet into the moonlit night sky over the Atlantic.

A sailor lights up via a light want on Carrier’s dark deck.

A Hornet pilot prepares for a mission under the glowing constellation of lights mounted on the Ike’s island structure.

The stars meet the horizon somewhere in the inky distance as carrier operations are in full swing aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower’s deck.

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Photos via US Navy.

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