US Aircraft Carriers Start Drills Off Philippines

Discussion in 'East Asia & The Pacific' started by Pathfinder, Jun 20, 2016.

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  1. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    US Aircraft Carriers Start Drills Off Philippines

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    PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) -- The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) strike groups commenced dual carrier flight operations in the Philippine Sea June 18.

    The ships and aircraft assigned to both strike groups began coordinated operations in international waters demonstrating the United States unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups in close proximity.

    While at sea, the strike groups conducted air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, long range strikes, coordinated maneuvers and other exercises.

    "This is a great opportunity for us to train in a high end scenario." said Rear Adm. John D. Alexander commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet and commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5. "We must take advantage of these opportunities to practice warfighting techniques that are required to prevail in modern naval operations."

    As a Pacific nation and a Pacific leader, the United States has a national interest in maintaining security and prosperity, peaceful resolution of disputes, unimpeded lawful commerce, and adherence to freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the shared domains of the Indo-Asia-Pacific. For more than 70 years, the U.S. Navy has been a persistent and stabilizing presence conducting operations throughout the region on a daily basis.

    "Rear Adm. Alexander and I first flew together as a crew in an A-6 carrier-based aircraft in July 1988," said Rear Adm. Marcus A. Hitchcock, commander of CSG 3. "Today, we continue that long history as our two Carrier Strike Groups maneuver together in the Philippine Sea. No other Navy can concentrate this much combat power on one sea or synchronize the activities of over 12,000 Sailors, 140 aircraft, six combatants and two carriers. It was truly impressive, and it is an important operational capability."

    U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have conducted dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific including the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea for several years. These operations typically occur when strike groups deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations from the West Coast of the United States are joined with the forward deployed carrier strike group from Japan.

    In Sept. 2014, USS George Washington (CVN 73) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) strike groups conducted combined operations in the Western Pacific and in Sept. 2012 they operated in the South China Sea and East China Sea. In 2009, George Washington and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) operated together in the Western Pacific, and in 2001, USS Constellation (CV 64) and Carl Vinson operated together in the South China Sea.

    "Working with Rear Adm. Hitchcock and Carrier Strike Group Three, during their deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, has been a great opportunity for us to train on how we would operate multiple carrier strike groups in a contested environment," said Alexander. "The U.S. Navy has flown, sailed and operated throughout the Western Pacific in accordance with international law for decades, and will continue to do so."

    CSG 3 consists of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and the aircraft of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9. CSG 3 began operating in the Western Pacific Feb. 4.

    CSG 5 consisting of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), guided-missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and guided-missile destroyers from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Benfold (DDG 65), and the aircraft of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan and routinely, patrols the Western Pacific. CSG 5 commenced its summer patrol of the Indo-Asia Pacific, June 4.

    http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=95284

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  2. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    3 Cruisers, impressive to say the least. That is some serious air defense firepower right there.
     
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  3. Falcon

    Falcon Major Staff Member Social Media Team

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    We are sending the Chinese a really clear message. Over the past few months we have increased our air presence at Clark Air Base in the Philippines and just the other day we sent EA-18G Growlers to Clark. With the exercise we have a lot of firepower in the region. A clear message.
     
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  4. Cossack25A1

    Cossack25A1 1st Lieutenant

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    Funny thing is that even if the drills were done on the east of the Philippines, the Chinese still feel threatened as if they also OWN the sea area on the east of the Philippines. I will not be surprised if either the Chinese begins claiming that Benham Plateau belongs to the and the UN "illegally" gave it to the Philippines, or incoming president Duterte will sell it to China in exchange for infrastructure development whose quality may be questionable.
     
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  5. Freyja

    Freyja 2nd Lieutenant

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    How defensible would these artificial islands be in a war? They're immobile, and thought the closest of the bunch is near Hainan Island, most aren't too close to Chinese waters or land, so they'd need to be resupplied and I feel this makes blockading them easier.

    They're also mostly flat, so no defensive caves or subterranean structures can hide equipment like Japan did during the US Island Hopping campaign during WWII.

    [​IMG]

    Seems like a few Tomahawks would render them inoperable in short fashion. I see the utility of these islands as a means of asserting control over an area and enforcing perceived sovereignty over these waters, but from a military perspective, even with air bases, missile batteries and radars, they seem indefensible.
     
  6. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    I think that these islands are not necessarily meant to be a military threat to the US specifically, I am sure they know the risks of these islands when it comes to a US attack. Other countries in the region however do not have the same capabilities as the US so for them these islands are a serious military and territorial threat.

    I think China knows that we will never attack them and that we will probably stay out of any direct action against them even if an ally got attacked.
     
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  7. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    I feel we're over simplifying something, but I can't pinpoint what. I look at the situation and feel the same way. Island's, especially flat ones, aren't defendable long-term. Resupplying them in war-time would be a death sentence as a blockade could be enacted and enforced.

    They may be indefensible, but they aren't undefended either. Already we've seen photos of anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles sprouting up.

    [​IMG]

    These represent a problematic area denial equation, but it's not unsolvable either. Unlike an aircraft carrier which needs to be located, followed and engaged, these islands are static. They aren't going anywhere and that makes planning for their destruction easier.

    Expect J-11s and future airframes like the J-20 to be station on them too.

    [​IMG]

    @Pathfinder likely has the right idea. They don't serve as much of a deterrent to the US. There's simply too much power and too much intelligence in the US military and static defenses like these don't tend to be operational for too long once the shooting starts. Look at recent US campaigns... it's airfields and ports first.

    We shouldn't suggest it's going to be easy goings, but it's not as if these islands represent an unbreakable wall either. All defenses, especially static ones, can be circumvented or destroyed and especially remote ones that are cutoff from land routes are difficult to resupply.

    Once the Maginot Line was seen as the ultimate defense mechanism... until the Germans just went around it.

    [​IMG]

    These islands assert sea control and can pose a risk for nations in the region, especially if fishing vessels and CG assets are stationed at them to harass other regional nations and asset sovereignty over regional resources like oil or fisheries, but their value as military assets is suspect.
     
  8. Falcon

    Falcon Major Staff Member Social Media Team

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    Vietnam does have cruise missiles capable of destroying Chinese artificial islands but they would find them selves in a deeper whole then they were in the first place. China has air and naval superiority and could really stomp all over Vietnam's offshore territory, the Chinese would not have to be concerned about Vietcong in the jungles as that is not what they are after. The Philippines unfortunately given its current military state could not attack anything with China written on it.
    http://thediplomat.com/2015/04/vietnam-buys-deadly-new-missiles-capable-of-hitting-china/

    This whole island business is China's Crimea, it just wasn't as grand as the Russian move in the Crimea. Its all about having a strategic foothold and going everyone else the finger while achieving it.
     
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  9. Freyja

    Freyja 2nd Lieutenant

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    So Vietnam's already started along with path by buying Russian made missiles, the Klub series according to both Reuters and Sputnik. Even when MTCR compliant, the club series has the range to hit many of the Chinese islands.

    [​IMG]

    But what could other nations do to effect these islands? The Philippines isn't as wealthy; is the US enough leverage? What about the other nations. Leaving diplomacy and economics aside, both of which when ties are strong less the risk of conflict, what military options do the other nations have or could get?
     
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  10. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    http://www.manilalivewire.com/2016/...must-acquire-50-brahmos-cruise-missiles-asap/
     
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