Home » Aviation » U.S. Conducting Dual Carrier-Ops Off Korean Peninsula Amidst Chinese Concern


U.S. Conducting Dual Carrier-Ops Off Korean Peninsula Amidst Chinese Concern

F/A-18 Super Hornet flies by the flight deck of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) on May 27, 2017. US Navy Photo

The U.S. Navy has begun dual-carrier operations with the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in the Sea of Japan, a service official told USNI News on Wednesday.

It will be first time two U.S. carriers have operated in tandem off the Korean Peninsula since the 1990s and follows several recent North Korean missile tests.

“Operating two carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific provides unique training opportunities for our forces and provides combatant commanders with significant operational flexibility should these forces be called upon in response to regional situations,” Lt. Loren Terry told USNI News on Wednesday.
“The presence of two carriers is part of a regularly scheduled rotation of assets in the region and is not in response to any political or world events. This unique capability is one of many ways the U.S. Navy promotes security, stability and prosperity throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

The Vinson Carrier Strike Group has been operating for the last several weeks off of Korea, while USS Ronald Reagan – the Navy’s forward-deployed carrier based in Japan – recently completed its yearly maintenance availability in Japan and commenced its spring patrol earlier this month.

Vinson’s deployment was extended a month to conduct presence operations off North Korea.

“Our mission is to reassure allies and our partners of our steadfast commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” strike group commander Rear Adm. Jim Kilby wrote on the wall of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Facebook page.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) transits the Philippine Sea while conducting a bilateral exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. US Navy Photo

“We will continue to be the centerpiece of visible maritime deterrence, providing our national command authority with flexible deterrent options, all domain access, and a visible forward presence,” Kilby added.

Chinese officials expressed concern over the operations during the Ministry of Foreign Affairs daily press conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

“We have all been following how the situation on the Korean Peninsula evolves over the recent period of time, and hoping that tensions can be lowered, and that the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula can be brought back to the track of dialogue and consultation as soon as possible,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
“The situation on the Peninsula is highly complex and sensitive. There is a window of opportunity for us to bring the nuclear issue back to the right track of dialogue and consultation. In this connection, we hope that all relevant parties would exercise restraint and do more to ease the tension and build up mutual trust, rather than provoke each other and escalate the tension.”

While it’s the first time in decades two carriers operated in tandem off Korea, Reagan and USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) conducted dual-carrier operations last year in the Western Pacific.

Following the exercises, Vinson will return to San Diego to complete its deployment.

The Vinson Carrier Strike Group deployment is being overseen by U.S. Third Fleet based in San Diego, Calif., as a test of the Navy’s ability to command and control forces in the Western Pacific from the continental United States, USNI News reported. The strike group departed in early January.

  • Centaurus

    Let’s bring a third one in there and really piss on their shoes and plead ‘rain’. The Chinese and Russians do it all the time.

    • Marcd30319

      USS Nimitz and its carrier strike group is en route to the WesPac as we speak.

      • Marjus Plaku

        Yup, if in the future we had another carrier forward deployed to Perth, like we used to in Subic, China would have nowhere to piss in the Pacific.

        • incredulous1

          Sounds like a very good idea. Squash their designs on the Chinese dream of the First and Second Island chains. No to coercion of our allies and no to Chinese imperialism

          • kate

            China is holding back its full bladder of DF-21D missiles, and adding more as we speak. Bring the full force of 10 carriers to WesPac so China can have enough space to piss on. 3 carriers aren’t enough for hundreds of missiles waiting to be released.

  • RobM1981

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how it is done. After ten years of weak leadership, it’s good to be reminded.

    The speech is soft; the stick is large.

    Now, are we going to have peace? China, are you willing to do something, or do you want to be reminded that as strong as you are – you can’t do what we’re doing. Which one is it?

    • Ken N

      I’ll bite. What is being done now that wasn’t done in the past? I mean this isn’t the first time the US Navy has performed dual carrier ops. As you can see from the “related posts” links above..the Stennis and Reagan CSG’s conducted dual carrier ops in 2016…much to China’s chagrin.

      • incredulous1

        You honestly don’t know? You see no difference? You probably also don’t see any difference in the FonOps now either then. These movements are a language, not just exercises for the sake of exercising. Not only is this language China understands but all parties should know by now that we are ready willing and able to use the force if necessary. Also look for China to be disinvited to future RIMPACs if they don’t become a valuable ally and I mean quickly as opposed to their current manipulative duplicitous lying back stabbing behavior vis-à-vis promises and the DPRK

        • kate

          China is also “speaking” to the US. Almost right after the dual-carrier ops in 2016, China held an exercise which launched a salvo of DF-21s. So the FonOps didn’t really do any deterrence other than to encourage more brazenness from the Chinese.

          • incredulous1

            Obama’s “FoNOps” never did anything to deter China or block their coercive imperial advances against the Philippines or Vietnam. All Obama did was to reinforce China’s claim by staying 12 miles away and acting like innocent passage. Now we conducted drills 6 miles away which negates and counters any claim of sovereignty over the feature. If the PLAN dares to attack a US ship during FoNOps, that will justify the US using force to remove China from those islands and blockade their movement in the SCS – which is my eventual prediction.

  • John B. Morgen

    It’s power production, but nothing more than that illustration of naval seapower.