• US carriers hold drills in PH waters

    SHOW OF FORCE This photo taken on June 18, 2016 and released June 19, 2016 by the US Navy shows a flight formation of Boeing F/A-18E and F Super Hornets from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and 9 above the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in the Philippine Sea. AFP / US NAVY / STEVE SMITH

    SHOW OF FORCE This photo taken on June 18, 2016 and released June 19, 2016 by the US Navy shows a flight formation of Boeing F/A-18E and F Super Hornets from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and 9 above the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in the Philippine Sea. AFP / US NAVY / STEVE SMITH

    SHOWING their unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups in close proximity, ships and aircraft assigned to USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) strike groups started dual carrier flight operations over Philippine waters on Saturday, the US Navy Task Force 70 said.

    According to the task force, while at sea, the strike groups conducted air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments, 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. We must take advantage of these opportunities to practice war-fighting techniques that are required to prevail in modern naval operations,” Rear Admiral John Alexander, commander of Battle Force 7th Fleet and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5, said in a statement.

    The drills were held at the eastern part of the Philippines or in the area not bordering the West Philippine Sea (South China sea) but “close” to the disputed waterways.

    It was conducted as The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is expected to hand down a ruling early next month on a complaint filed by the Philippines against China.

    Earlier, the first temporary detachment of US Navy EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft arrived at Clark Air Base in Pampanga province, north of Manila, for a training with Philippine Air Force pilots.

    The detachment is composed of four aircraft and about 120 personnel assigned to the VAQ 138 expeditionary squadron based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.

    Previous VAQ 138 detachments like this one have completed deployments to locations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific and participated in several exercises with allies and partners.

    The US Navy said, 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.”

    It added that for more than 70 years, the US Navy has been a 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. 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,” said Rear Admiral Marcus Hitchcock, commander of CSG 3.

    US 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.


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    1. It was conveyed earlier this year by US Defense Secretary Carter their rock-solid commitment to defend the territorial integrity of the Philippines as part of the existing mutual defense pact between the two longtime friend nations. Further to that, as we are all aware, the arrival of the massive US naval force at the border of the disputed waters of the South china Sea and West Philippine Sea is due to the expected release of international arbitration on the protest lodged by PH related to the disputed waters.
      The US naval force will be there to remain as stabilizer. In case the ruling would favor PH, then waters at West Philippine Sea is not a disputed area anymore but an open one. China has to abide. If not, then it would be the US Navy’s turn to neutralize any untoward event to allow free passage of any flag bearing vessels and maintain a safe way of international waters.
      If China remains stubborn, then it would risk itself being isolated from the world just like what’s happening now to Russia. It would mean a crushing loss for the Chinese because they are the second largest economy in the world and the largest trading partner of the USA and followed by Europe. But US and Europe have already warned if China would not heed to the arbitration, then they will be isolated from the rest of the world, of course except from their allies BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). With exception of India and S.Africa, the said nations are already having their own economic troubles. Lately, India has joined along Australia and US to police the South East waters. That is a tremendous loss for China. I think they cannot afford it. That’s the reason why the Chinese has been insisting on bilateral talks or country-to-country talks only and not a multi-lateral one which include US and other major nations.

    2. Ignacio Balbutin on

      Not only the superpowers, the chinese are even afraid of smaller nations, one country in the pacific blasted the fishing vessels of the chinese which intrude their waters and they were gone immediately. The chinese only bully those people who are afraid of them. Unfortunately, Pnoy was afraid of the chineses, if he did not withdraw the Phil. vessels from the spratlys the chinese could not have build an artificial island there. He cannot believe that the US will really help the Philippines. Now we are seeing that the US are serious in maintaining the free of passage air and sea in the West Philippine sea. The Philippine government should make use of this opportunity to warn the Chinese the leave the area immediately or suffer the brunt of the might of the US and the undoubted bravery of the filipinos.

      • Ignacio Balbutin on

        The chinese can never and never afraid to go to war because that will be the end of their economy if not the country as a whole

    3. Matinong Pilipino on

      The Chinese Navy normally in the area giving warnings were neither heard nor seen, at siguro nagtago muna because the magnitude and the concentration of too much combat power in the area. Normally, when Chinese Navy detects couple of small Philippine Navy vessels or Philippine Air Force planes, they issue warnings that they are intruding the Chinese territory. At this time, two (2) U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups in the area were not challenged entering in what the Chinese termed as their territory. The Chinese are intelligent enough not to provoke, impede, or stop the U.S Navy operations in South Pacific because it will not be a good bet and they may run out of luck. The bottom line: China cannot afford to engage with U.S. military and these U.S. actions are the testaments of U.S. commitments in protecting Philippines in time of troubles and give a helping hand as well on the victims of disasters, especially typhoons.