The U.S. Navy held two separate international training exercises with Japan and South Korea this Sunday while conducting rare coordinated operations with three U.S. carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific.
Last week the U.S. Navy announced the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) were conducting coordinated operations to demonstrate its ability to operate multiple carrier strike groups (Defense Daily, Nov. 19).
The Reagan is forward deployed to Japan, the Roosevelt is on its way to operations in the Persian Gulf and 5th Fleet area of responsibility from San Diego, and the Nimitz is headed back to its homeport in Bremerton, Wash., following operations in in the Persian Gulf (Defense Daily, Oct. 25).
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) said that on Sunday the U.S. ships joined a Japanese force that included the Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma (DD-105), Takanami-class destroyer JS Makinami (DD-112), and Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise. The Ise is one of the largest ships in Japan’s fleet and corresponds to being a helicopter carrier in other navies.
The JMSDF said the exercise was aimed at improving tactical skills of the Japanese forces and strengthen collaboration with the U.S. Navy.
Later the same day the U.S. forces joined several ships from the South Korean navy in South Korea’s theater of operations within the Sea of Japan.
According to a report in Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s Sejong the Great-class Aegis guided missile destroyers ROKS Sejong the Great (DDG-991) and the ROKS Seoae Yu Seong-ryong (DDG-993) joined the three U.S. carriers
South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff said the exercise is meant to enhance the credibility of extended deterrence against North Korean provocations.
“The combined drills are to present our resolve and will to deter North Korea’s provocations and retaliate if provoked,” the report quoted an anonymous South Korea defense official.
Last week, the Navy said this was the first time three carrier strike groups were operating together in the Western Pacific since the Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 exercises, then off the coast of Guam.