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US conducts three-carrier strike force exercises with South Korea, Japan

13 November 2017
Strike groups of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) manoeuvre with the Republic of Korea Navy during a three-carrier strike force exercise in the Western Pacific on 12 November. Source: Republic of Korea Navy

Key Points

  • The US is flexing its ability to operate multiple carrier strike groups with partners in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Exercises have been conducted in the aftermath of recent missile provocations and hostile rhetoric from North Korea

Following recent missile tests in North Korea, a US Navy (USN) strike force comprising three aircraft-carrier groups has commenced a series of co-ordinated exercises in the Western Pacific with regional partners.

The strike force, which comprises the carrier groups of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and accompanying warships, began exercises on 11 November. The group will demonstrate the USN’s “unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a co-ordinated strike-force effort”, said the service.

According to the USN, the exercise is the first to operate three carrier strike groups simultaneously in the Western Pacific since 2007. “It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three,” said US Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Scott Swift, in a statement released by the US Seventh Fleet public affairs office.

“Multiple carrier strike-force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the US Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region,” Adm Swift added.

The group was joined by warships from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) in two separate bilateral activities on 12 November in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

Participating JMSDF assets included the Hyūga-class helicopter carrier JS Ise (DDH 182), the Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma (DD 105), and the Takanami-class destroyer JS Makinami (DD 112), said the service via an official social media channel. “The JMSDF is taking the opportunity to stabilise the area with such a training exercise,” it added.

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