Video: U.S. Navy Unites Five Carriers in Pacific Training Exercise

two carrier groups training in the South China Sea
Two carrier groups are uniting for the training in the South Chna Sea (US Navy photos)

Published Jan 25, 2022 12:19 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Navy has underway one of its largest show of strength training exercises uniting two carrier strike groups with more than 14,000 sailors and marines in the South China Sea. This latest exercise is part of an ongoing series of joint training programs the U.S. has been conducting in the region. 

The U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups, led by their flagships USS Carl Vinson of Carrier Strike Group 1 and USS Abraham Lincoln of Carrier Strike Group 3, united along with units of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force bring together five aircraft carriers for epic pictures in the Philippine Sea as the exercises got underway. 



Proceeding into the South China Sea, the ships and aircraft of the two carrier strike groups are conducting coordinated surface and air operations which according to the command demonstrates in a complex maritime environment the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Joint Force’s ability to deliver a powerful maritime force. The two U.S. carrier groups are engaging in exercises to include enhanced maritime communication operations, anti-submarine warfare operations, air warfare operations, replenishments-at-sea, cross-deck flight operations, and maritime interdiction operations to strengthen maritime integrated-at-sea operations and combat readiness. 

The training however was briefly marred by a “landing mishap” on the deck while USS Carl Vinson while conducting routine flight operations in the South China Sea on January 24. An F-35C Lightning II experienced an unspecified problem forcing the pilot to eject from the aircraft during the landing. A total of seven sailors were reportedly injured with three being medevaced from the carrier for treatment in Manila, Philippines, and four were treated by onboard medical personnel. The pilot was recovered by a U.S. military helicopter and believed to be among the injured. The three that were taken to Manila are reported in stable condition, while one remains in the medical facility on the carrier and the three others were released. 


Carl Vinson and Abraham Lincoln during the joint exercise (US Navy photo)


The Navy reports that the current exercise is part of the normal coordinated maritime engagements and operations in the South China Sea. Since arriving in the U.S. 7th Fleet region in early September, CSG 1 units have participated in multiple operations joined by units from Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the United Kingdom’s carrier strike group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, and an exercise that included the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, German Navy, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The carrier group headed by USS Carl Vinson includes three guided-missile cruisers and destroyers as well as a replenishment ship, dry cargo, an ammunition ship, and nine squadrons in the air wing. Similarly, the carrier group headed by USS Abraham Lincoln includes a guided-missile cruiser, four guided-missile destroyers, and the air wings including a Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron.

As the U.S. Navy's largest forward deployed fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates between 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors. U.S. 7th Fleet's area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South Pacific.

Air wings aboard the two carriers preparing for training (US Navy photo)