3 US aircraft carrier strike groups to conduct Western Pacific exercise on Nov 11-14

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) steam alongside South Korean navy ships, during a bilateral training exercise.
The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) steam alongside South Korean navy ships, during a bilateral training exercise.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The Pentagon said on Wednesday (Nov 8) it would soon carry out the first exercise in a decade involving three aircraft carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific, confirming a Reuters report published on Monday.

“It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three,” Admiral Scott Swift, US Pacific Fleet commander, said in a statement.

He added that  the drills would take place from Saturday to Tuesday, which coincides with Trump’s visit to Asia.

“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 iron-clad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region,” he said

US officials had said earlier that the drills involve aircraft carriers USS Nimitz, the Ronald Reagan and the Theodore Roosevelt, as well as their accompanying warships.

It will be the first time three US aircraft carrier strike groups exercise together in the region since 2007. 

Such large-scale drills serve as a potent reminder of the US ability to rapidly mobilise military force, a capability the Trump administration has been keen to emphasise as Pyongyang races ahead with tests to build a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States.

Since taking office, Trump has vowed to expand the fleet of US carriers, even as some military strategists and experts believe the massive ships would be increasingly vulnerable to modern Chinese and Russian weapons in any conflict.