The South China Sea is back in the spotlight: The Indo-Pacific has been bustling with activity lately. RIMPAC 22, the largest maritime exercise in the world, is currently underway in the region, with nearly 30 nations participating.
Almost simultaneously, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its carrier strike group are conducting operations in the South China Sea. Basically, both events have one recipient in mind: China.
Sail through the South China Sea
In the disputed region, the USS Ronald Reagan and her accompanying warship are conducting maritime security operations, including maritime strike exercises, tactical training between air and surface units, and air operations with airborne aircraft. fixed and rotary wing.
“Our presence in the South China Sea demonstrates America’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Every sailor aboard contributes to this important and enduring mission as we operate in this region, in accordance with international law to ensure that all nations can do the same,” said Captain Fred Goldhammer, Commanding Officer of USS Ronald Reagan, in a press release. .
In addition to the USS Ronald Reagan, the US Navy has deployed the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) to the South China Sea.
“Our strike group is constantly working to remain capable and ready and we continue to focus during operations in the South China Sea to demonstrate our commitment to the region. Building on the lessons and successes of exercises like Valiant Shield 2022 , and on our continued opportunities to train and operate alongside allies and partners, we provide an assured capability to maintain the rules-based international order in this body of water and everywhere else we sail, fly and operate,” said Rear Admiral Michael Donnelly, commander of Task Force 70 and Carrier Strike Group 5.
Carrier Air Wing 5 is aboard the USS Ronald Reagan and packs a number of different aircraft, including F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jets, EA-18G Growler electronic warfare planes, E-2D Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft, C-2A Greyhound transports and MH-60S/R Seahawk multi-mission helicopters.
– 27 Attack Fighter Squadron
– 102 Attack Fighter Squadron
– 115 Attack Fighter Squadron
– 195 Attack Fighter Squadron
– 141 Electronic Attack Squadron
– 125 Airborne Command and Control Squadron
– Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 Det. 5
– Marine Combat Helicopter Squadron 12
– Maritime Attack Helicopter Squadron 77
Drama in the South China Sea
Almost at the same time as the USS Ronald Reagan reached the South China Sea and began training operations, the USS Benford, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, was conducting a freedom of navigation operation in the Sea of southern China, triggering a furious statement from China, which claims sovereignty over international waterways.
For at least a decade now, Beijing has launched an aggressive territorial grab in the South China Sea, manufacturing (and fortifying with anti-access weapon systems) artificial islands.
[1945’sNewColumnofDefenseandNationalSecurity[1945’sNouveauchroniqueurdedéfenseetdesécuriténationaleStavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (National Service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ) and a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. His work has been featured in Business Intern, Sandboxand SOFREP.