N-powered aircraft carrier docks today

Sailors from USS Ronald Reagan and 3 other US Navy ships will volunteer while in S'pore

Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan, is expected to arrive today in Singapore for a scheduled port visit.

The warship, carrying more than 5,000 personnel and 66 aircraft, has spent a month patrolling the waters in the Indo-Asia Pacific region, and will be docked at RSS Singapura - Changi Naval Base while here. It left its home port in Yokosuka, in the Kanagawa prefecture in Japan, on May 16.

Three other vessels which are part of the carrier's strike group - guided-missile destroyers USS McCampbell and USS Barry, and guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh - will also be in Singapore.

While here, sailors from the visiting ships will volunteer at local schools, food banks and soup kitchens, said the public affairs department of the Task Force 70, of which the strike group is a part.

Earlier this month, the strike groups of the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson, another aircraft carrier, conducted a joint drill with Japanese destroyers in the Sea of Japan. Reports labelled the exercise, which took place just days after North Korea launched a ballistic missile test, as an apparent display of force.

The US Seventh Fleet said on its Facebook page that the drill was "routine training to improve inter-operability and readiness in the Indo-Asia Pacific".

In a press statement announcing its arrival in Singapore, the Task Force 70 said: "The US Navy routinely operates in the South China Sea and surrounding areas to help maintain stability and peace in the region."

The aircraft on the USS Ronald Reagan, which was commissioned in 2003, includes fighter jets with electronic warfare and attack capabilities and multi-mission helicopters.

It is the only aircraft carrier in the US Navy that is deployed on a long-term basis outside the US, allowing it faster access to the waters it operates in.

Speaking to the media on board the USS Ronald Reagan yesterday, Rear Admiral Charles Williams, commander of Task Force 70, reaffirmed the continued support of US naval forces in the region for more than seven decades, following the end of World War II. 

"The US Navy has established a presence in the Western Pacific... and it is that presence that is going to continue to serve as a stabilising factor for the region," he said.

Correction note:  An earlier version of the story stated that Rear Admiral Charles Williams is the commander of the Seventh Fleet. This is incorrect. He is the commander of Task Force 70, which is under the Seventh Fleet. We are sorry for the error.    

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2017, with the headline 'N-powered aircraft carrier docks today'. Print Edition | Subscribe