Two of the US Navy’s Indo-Pacific based carrier strike groups, the Nimitz and Ronald Reagan Strike Groups, have conducted joint carrier operations supporting sea power while deployed to the South China Sea in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
High-end integrated exercises build unmatched flexibility, endurance, maneuverability, and firepower in an all-domain warfighting environment. These efforts support enduring US commitments to stand up for the right of all nations to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.
Comprised of both Nimitz and Ronald Reagan Strike Groups, the Carrier Strike Force conducted several tactical exercises designed to maximise air defence capabilities, and extend the reach of long range precision maritime strikes from carrier-based aircraft in a rapidly evolving area of operations.
Commander Stanton Hanley, air operations officer, USS Ronald Reagan, said, “Doing the basic skills well, like efficient aircraft launch and recovery, is the foundation of all our tactics. Maintaining our high operational tempo provides the training and repetitions necessary to ensure we can launch large scale strikes as a matter of routine.”
Air defence in a Carrier Strike Force incorporates the capabilities of the embarked fixed and rotary wing aircraft, along with Aegis guided-missile cruisers and destroyers. This provides multi-layered, early detection capabilities to defend the force against potential airborne threats.
During air defence and strike exercises, aircraft from Nimitz and Reagan simulate enemy attacks testing the force’s ability to detect, intercept and engage threats. The exercises increase pilot proficiency while giving shipboard tactical watch standers hands-on experience co-ordinating defence in a realistic environment.
Captain Todd Whalen, commodore, Destroyer Squadron Nine, explained the importance of integrating the various capabilities represented in a carrier strike group, “The ships and sailors in Destroyer Squadron Nine have been working hard to increase our tactical proficiency in long range maritime strike and anti-submarine warfare. On this Fourth of July at sea, it's a privilege to stand the watch with our teammates in Nimitz and Ronald Reagan Strike Groups to protect freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce.”
This opportunity for two carrier strike groups to train and operate together in the region provides combatant commanders with significant operational flexibility and capabilities that only the US Navy can command.
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is the Navy’s only forward-deployed strike group and one of America’s most visible symbols of resolve.
The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group arrived in the US 7th Fleet area of operations on 17 June, and has been conducting dual carrier operations with both the Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carriers.
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With Carrier Air Wings 17 and 5, as well as accompanying surface forces, Nimitz and Reagan form the most effective and agile fighting force in the world, supporting US commitment to mutual defence agreements with regional allies and partners, and promoting peace and prosperity throughout the Info-Pacific.