U.S. Navy carrier strike groups led by flagships USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) joined with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF) Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) and the United Kingdom’s carrier strike group (CSG 21) led by HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) to conduct multiple carrier strike group operations in the Philippine Sea, Oct. 3.
The integrated at-sea operations brought together more than 15,000 Sailors across six nations and demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s ability to work closely with its unmatched network of alliances and partnerships in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 from Ronald Reagan is operating with CSG 1 from Carl Vinson for the first time during its 2021 deployment and marks the second time operating with UK CSG 21 and JS Ise this year.
“We are picking up right where we left off in 5th Fleet with the Queen Elizabeth team and building on what we started with the JMSDF after first leaving Japan,” said Rear Adm. Will Pennington, commander, Carrier Strike Group 5/Task Force 70. “Adding the fantastic Vinson team to this potent force dynamically displays our capabilities across all domains, keeping us ready to respond to a range of maritime challenges.”
The strike groups conducted flight operations and air defense exercise scenarios as well as simulated strikes against maritime targets. The operations brought together F/A-18 Super Hornets from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 aboard Ronald Reagan, along with F-35Bs from both Royal Air Force and U.S. Marines operating from Queen Elizabeth, and F-35Cs from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 aboard Carl Vinson.
“Interoperability across air platforms, to include the addition of the Air Wing of the Future, is just one way we have integrated operations for enhanced lethality, readiness and maneuverability across our collective forces,” said Rear Adm. Dan Martin, commander, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG)/CSG 1. “This is Carl Vinson strike group’s fourth exercise with allies and partners since entering 7th Fleet, and we have continued to improve our ability to conduct prompt and sustained operations at sea with a more mobile, agile and flexible force. Through alliances and partnerships, we have developed the right operational concepts, plans, proficiencies and capabilities to bolster our maritime advantage.”
Vinson and UK CSG conducted joint interoperability flights together in 7th Fleet in August, the first time CSG-21 engaged with the F-35 “C” model, assigned to CVW-2. The two F-35B squadrons have been deployed together aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth for her inaugural, global deployment, demonstrating the interoperability the F-35 provides.
“The UK Carrier Strike Group offers the largest 5th Generation air wing afloat today and working with our close allies to develop operating procedures and capabilities while concurrently showcasing the agility of land and carrier-based aviation in the Indo-Pacific demonstrates our commitment to the region,” said Commodore Steve Moorhouse, OBE Royal Navy, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group.
The training and events provided commanders the chance to practice capabilities across the maritime domain, as participating forces focused on anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare tactics and procedures.
“In addition to the two carrier strike groups of the U.S. Navy, I feel very honored to be able to train with the Royal Navy’s most advanced carrier strike group, which is an extremely valuable experience,” said Rear Adm. KONNO Yasushige, Commander of JMSDF Escort Flotilla 2. “Through this training, we enhanced our tactical skills and interoperability with the participating navies. In order to realize a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, the JMSDF will work closely with the naval forces of the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands, and Canada, which share the same objectives, to respond to global challenges and defend maritime order based on the rule of law.”
Joining the JS Ise from the JMSDF were the destroyers JS Yamagiri (DD 152) and JS Kirishima (DDG 174). The frigates HMCS Winnipeg (FFH 338) from the Royal Canadian Navy and HMNZS Te Kaha (F 77) from the Royal New Zealand Navy, represented their countries in the operations.
In addition to the carrier, the Queen Elizabeth Strike Group is comprised of anti-submarine frigates HMS Richmond (F 239) and HMS Kent (F 78), guided-missile destroyers HMS Defender (D 36) and HMS Diamond (D 34), Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring, U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), and Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen (F 805).
CSG 1 includes aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57).
CSG 5 includes the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the embarked staffs of Task Force 70 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5.
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and CSG 1 are deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.