US, Japan carriers drill together in Philippine Sea

RFA staff
US, Japan carriers drill together in Philippine Sea Airplanes and ships from U.S. and Japanese navies stage a joint drill in the Philippine Sea, Jan. 31, 2024.
U.S. Navy

Two American aircraft carrier groups and a Japanese helicopter carrier ship held joint drills this week in the Philippine Sea, the U.S. 7th Fleet said.

The maneuvers took place in the waterway east of the Philippines amid regional tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan and Philippine-Chinese tensions in the South China Sea.

U.S. Navy’s carrier strike groups led by the flagships USS Carl Vinson and USS Theodore Roosevelt, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise are conducting a multi-large deck event “in accordance with international law in international waters,” the fleet said in a press release.

The exercise provided the two maritime forces with “an opportunity to engage in joint operations to include enhanced maritime communication operations, air warfare operations and cross-deck flight operations to strengthen maritime integrated-at-sea operations and combat readiness,” it added.

The drills began on Monday and were to conclude on Thursday, according to a statement by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Besides the two aircraft carriers, the U.S. Navy also dispatched nine other warships to join the event.

During the exercise, ships and aircraft from the allied forces conduct “air defense drills, sea surveillance, cross-deck exercises and tactical maneuvers to advance unique high-end warfighting capability,” the 7th Fleet said, adding that coordinated maritime engagements and operations in the Philippine Sea are “part of the U.S. Navy’s routine presence in the Indo-Pacific.”

The Carl Vinson and Theodore Roosevelt carrier groups are currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

The last time two U.S. aircraft carriers jointly participated in a similar exercise was in November with the Carl Vinson and the Ronald Reagan.

U.S. and Japan’s maritime forces plan to hold more large-deck exercises this year. 

In November, the U.S. and the Philippines, close military allies that have a decades-old mutual defense pact, launched joint air and sea patrols off the Philippines.

Manila is also negotiating with Tokyo on a deal that would give their militaries reciprocal access to each other’s territories for training and exchanges.

Radio Free Asia (RFA), a news service affiliated with BenarNews, produced this report.


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