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Makin Island ARG Operating in the South China Sea While Beijing Claims U.S. 'Muscle Flexing'


Chinese reports accuse the U.S. of “muscle-flexing” after an American amphibious ready group quietly deployed to the South China Sea earlier this week.

USS Makin Island (LHD-8) and USS Somerset (LPD-25) entered the South China Sea on Sunday, according to Chinese state press reports, a Beijing-backed think tank that monitors U.S. military movements in the South China Sea, and publicly available satellite imagery.

The move, not announced by the U.S. Navy, was decried in the Chines press as “a bluff and muscle-flexing action that pundits believe would damage regional stability,” according to a Monday report in the state-controlled Global Times.

In response to the American ARG operating in the region, a trio of Chinese warships conducted an “unscripted” live-fire drill in the South China Sea, Chinese language state media reported on Monday, according to Newsweek.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy corvettes were operating off the southern coast of China and conducted the drills the day after the amphibious warships transited into the South China Sea past the Philipines.

U.S. Navy officials told USNI News the Chinese corvettes were hundreds of miles away from the two American ships and that the Chinese operations were likely not in reaction to the U.S. ships. An official also said the two amphibious warships had not encountered any unsafe or unprofessional behavior from Chinese ships in the South China Sea.

The ARG entered the region at the same time as Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller was on a regional tour that includes Indonesia, the Philippines and Hawaii, according to press reports.

Makin Island,
 Somerset and USS San Diego (LPD-22) departed the West Coast in October to complete final certification exercises ahead of a deployment with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked.

While the Makin Island ARG and 15th MEU completed their certifications in mid-November and have since continued west towards the South China Sea, the Navy has yet to officially confirm that the units are deployed for national tasking.

“The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are currently underway in U.S. 7th Fleet. U.S. forces routinely operate in the region to include the South China Sea as we have for more than a century as a commitment to regional stability and a free and open Indo-Pacific,” U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Myers Vasquez said in a statement to USNI News. “All of our operations are designed to be conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows.”

When asked by USNI News over the last several weeks, the Navy has said the ARG/MEU was “conducting routine operations” without providing additional information.

The months-long process for training and certifying an ARG/MEU for a deployment is well understood by allies and adversaries alike. Makin Island went to sea in October to complete its Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) ahead of deployment. The ARG/MEU left the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations in the last two weeks for the Western Pacific.

The line for when a ship is in training versus when it’s available for national tasking has become much thinner since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In the past, after COMPTUEX an ARG or carrier strike group would return to port for upwards of a month ahead of the formal deployment. Now, to minimize the possibility of sailors contracting COVID-19 ahead of deployment, they quarantine ahead of the drills and then remain at sea throughout COMPTUEX and into the start of the deployment.

U.S. Pacific Fleet has been inconsistent in announcing deployments of major fleet units like ARGs and carrier strike groups since current commander Adm. John Aquilino took over in 2018.

Aquilino, the Trump administration’s nominee to command U.S. Indo Pacific Command, has at times directed no notice when major formations deploy, several defense officials have told USNI News over the last 18 months.

Earlier this week, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) departed from San Diego, Calif., with no notice for a sustainment exercise that will roll into a deployment, USNI News understands. “The strike group is a combat-ready national asset capable of both deterrence and offensive strike that provides our national command authority with flexible options, all domain access, and a visible forward presence,” 3rd Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Sean Robertson told USNI News on Monday.

Article by: Sam LaGrone


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Future of the Aircraft Carriers

The possible future Aircraft Carrier

Would the future aircraft carrier be optimized for a stealth warship with their latest Zumwalt-class destroyers? 

This would keep aircraft carriers relevant in the future.  The model shown in the picture has a length of 302 meters a max bean of 78 meters and a displacement (when fully loaded) of around 82,000 tons.  It has two flight decks in a CATOBAR configuration, using the US electromagnetic (EMALS) launch system to launch aircraft.  The lower flight deck can be used to launch and store UCAVs and manned aircraft, while the exposed upper flight deck can be used as an extra deck if necessary, to launch manned aircraft.  Aircraft can only land on the angled landing strip on the upper deck.  Which has a retractable designed arresting gear only exposed when aircraft must land on the carrier, in order to minimize radar reflection when no aircraft nee to be recovered.

The airwing would carry a mix of up to 120 5h and 6th generation (rotary – and fixed wing) aircraft and UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles).  It would also have laser weapons (in addition to AD missiles), stored in stealthy weapon pods for close in self-defense.

The ship would be highly automated, reducing the crew needed to operate the ship to around 450, creating more room to each crew member, as well as more space to carry extra fuel, weapons, payload, and aircraft.  The ship also houses cyberwarfare rooms with some of the world’s most powerful servers on board.

Information taken from indewflavour



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History of the First Aircraft Carrier

USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the eighth United States naval vessel to bear the name.  Like her predecessor of World War II fame, she is nicknamed “Big E”.  At 1,123 Feet (342 m), she is the longest naval vessel ever built.  Enterprise had a crew of some 4,600 service members.  She was inactivated on December 1, 2012 and decommissioned on February 3, 2017.

On November 25, 1961, Enterprise was commissioned, with Captain Vincent P. de Poix, formerly of Fighting Squadron 6 on her predecessor, in command.  On January 12, 1962, the ship made her maiden voyage starting an extensive shakedown cruise and a lengthy series of tests and training exercises designed to determine the full capabilities of the nuclear-powered super carrier.

In October 1962, Enterprise was dispatched to her first international crisis.  Following revelations that the Soviet Union was constructing nuclear missile launch sites in Cuba, President Kennedy ordered the United States Department of Defense to conduct a large-scale buildup.  Among the preparations, the U.S. Atlantic Fleet readied large numbers of its ships.  On October 22nd, President Kennedy ordered a naval and air “quarantine” (blockade) on shipment of offensive military equipment to Cuba, and demanded the Soviets dismantle the missile sites there.  Five United States Second Fleet carriers participated in the blockade – Enterprise (as part of Task Force 135), Independence, Essex, Lake Champlain, and Randolph, backed by shore-based aircraft.  By October 28th, the crisis was averted, after the United States secretly agreed to remove nuclear missiles from Italy and Turkey.

Information taken from Wikipedia


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USS Enterprise (CVN-80)

USS Enterprise (CVN-80) will be the third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier to be built for the United States Navy.  She will be the ninth United States naval vessel to bear the name and is scheduled to be operation by 2028.  Her construction began in August 2017 with a steel-cutting ceremony.

CVN-80 will be built by Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia.  The steel from CVN-65 will be recycled and used to construct CVN-80. 


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John F. Kennedy - (CVN-79)

USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79)

The USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) is the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier.  The ship was launched on October 29, 2019 and christened on December 7, 2019 by Caroline Kennedy.  She is the third navy ship named after members of the Kennedy family, and the second aircraft carrier named John F. Kennedy, succeeding USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), which served from 1968 to 2007.

The new technology and warfighting capabilities that the John F. Kennedy brings to the fleet will transform naval warfare, supporting a more capable and lethal forward-deployed U.S. naval presence.  In an emerging era of great power competition, CVN 79 will serve as the most agile and lethal combat platform in the world, with improved systems that enhance interoperability among other platforms in the carrier strike group, as well as with the naval forces of regional allies and partners.

*Information gathered from US Dept of Defense and Wikipedia




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