Amid rising border tension between India and China alongside Beijing’s ambitious territorial claims in the South China Sea, the US has deployed two of its best aircraft carriers to counter the presence of the Chinese navy.
The Philippine Sea which is strategically located in the region that provides easy access to both the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea is presently guarded by two of US’s supreme aircraft carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz Strike Groups to counter China’s growing presence in the region.
“We aggressively seek out every opportunity to advance and strengthen our capabilities and proficiency at conducting all-domain warfighting operations,” said Rear Admiral George Wikoff, commander of Carrier Strike Group 5.
“The U.S. Navy remains mission-ready and globally deployed. Dual carrier operations demonstrate our commitment to regional allies, our ability to rapidly mass combat power in the Indo- Pacific, and our readiness to confront all those who challenge international norms that support regional stability,” tells the Admiral.
US’s Maritime Machinery
It is reported that the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group consists of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, Carrier Air Wing, the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), the guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104), and USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114).
On the other hand, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group consists of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, Carrier Air Wing, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), and guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89).
Besides the general features, every U.S. aircraft carrier carries more than 5,000 sailors and over 60 jets and helicopters. Experts say that together, they can conduct potent, 24-hour flight operations.
“Only the U.S. Navy can integrate a carrier strike force on this scale and consistently project power to protect freedom of the seas,” said Rear Admiral James Kirk, commander of Carrier Strike Group 11, which is aboard the USS Nimitz.
He continues – “With more than 10,000 U.S. Navy Sailors from across the world working together as one cohesive team, these operations are what keep us ready to respond to any contingency.”
US-China Maritime Rivalry
Recently, due to maintenance and repair issues, the US had deployed no carrier groups in the Western Pacific region. Analysts opine that China appears to have taken advantage of the lack of strong US presence as China stepped up its military presence in the region.
Experts speculate that the U.S. Navy seeks to re-establish its strong presence in the region and counterbalance China’s navy in the area by deploying the best of its machinery together. Previously, the U.S. Navy had deployed the dual-carrier groups operating together in the Philippine or South China Seas in 2018, 2014, 2009, and 2001.