US Navy aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan and USS John C. Stennis have kicked off high-end dual carrier operations in the Philippine Sea.
Approximately 150 aircraft, 10 ships and 12,600 personnel from the two carrier strike groups will execute complex air, surface and anti-submarine warfare operations in international waters and airspace.
“Bringing two carrier strike groups together provides unparalleled naval combat power, tremendous operational flexibility and reach across the region,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander, US 7th Fleet. “It shows our forces at their best, operating confidently at sea, and demonstrates that the US Navy will fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”
For several years, U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have conducted dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific, including the waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula, Sea of Japan, South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea.
These operations typically occur when strike groups deployed to 7th Fleet from the West Coast of the United States join the forward-deployed carrier strike group in Japan.
Before arriving in the Philippine Sea, Stennis executed dual strike group operations with Carl Vinson off Hawaii, including strike and anti-submarine warfare operations.
Last year, the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) conducted a tri-carrier strike force exercise in the Western Pacific.
In 2016, Ronald Reagan and the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) conducted combined operations in the Philippine Sea. In Sept. 2014, the aircraft carriers USS George Washington (CVN 73) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) strike groups conducted combined operations in the Western Pacific, and in Sept. 2012, they operated in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
In 2009, George Washington and Nimitz operated together in the Western Pacific and in Valiant Shield 2007 and 2006 three-carrier strike groups were operating in the Philippine Sea. In 2001, the aircraft carriers USS Constellation (CV 64) and Carl Vinson operated together in the South China Sea.