The USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt strike groups will commence a three-carrier strike force exercise in the Western Pacific this week.
Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in international waters in order to demonstrate the US Navy’s unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.
“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, Adm. Scott Swift. “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.”
While at sea, the strike force plans to conduct air defence drills, sea surveillance, replenishment at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated manoeuvres and other training.
The US Navy say that this is the first time that three carrier strike groups have operated together in the Western Pacific since exercises Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 off the coast of Guam. Both exercises focused on the ability to rapidly bring together forces from three strike groups in response to any regional situation. Ronald Reagan took part in VS 2006 and Nimitz took part in VS 2007.
More recently, US Navy aircraft carriers have conducted dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific including in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea.
These opportunities typically occur when strike groups deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations from the West Coast of the United States are joined with the forward deployed carrier strike group from Japan.