China launches third aircraft carrier as US wraps up major Pacific exercise
China launched its third aircraft carrier on Friday, as the United States wrapped up its Valiant Shield 2022 exercise.
Meanwhile, Chinese and Russian vessels have been operating around Japanese waters this week, Japan’s Defense Ministry said in press releases.
On Friday morning, China launched its third aircraft carrier, named Fujian (18), carrying hull number 18, at the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation’s Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, the People’s Liberation Army’s official media channel, China Military Online, reported.
The 80,000-ton aircraft carrier is China’s first flat-deck aircraft carrier and uses catapults powered by the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) to launch its aircraft, unlike the ski jump of its other two aircraft carrier. The EMALS system can launch heavier aircraft, such as the J-35 fighter and airborne early warning aircraft, to operate from its cockpit.
Fujian is named after the closest Chinese province to Taiwan, located to the east of the province and separated by the Taiwan Strait. China has regularly reinforced its transport capacities, with the carrier CNS liaoning (16) conducting a long training period in May that lasted over two weeks in the Pacific Ocean. Fujian, once fully operational, with its greater capability and capabilities, will further enhance the power capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and enable the PLAN to deploy a total of three carrier battle groups, corresponding to the normal presence of two to three American CSGs in the Asia-Pacific. The PLAN is also expected to build additional carriers for the service.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Joint Staff Office (JSO) of the Ministry of Defense announced on Tuesday that two PLAN destroyers, along with a supply ship, had been sighted 200 kilometers west of Fukue Island, in Nagasaki Prefecture on Monday at noon. Hull numbers and images in the release correspond to CNS destroyers Lhasa (102) and SNC Chengdu (120) and CNS tanker Dongpinghu (902). The three ships then headed northeast, through the Tsushima Strait, and sailed into the Sea of Japan. Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Multipurpose Support Ship JS Amakusa (AMS-4303), JS fast attack craft Hayabusa (PG-824) and JS Shirataka (PG-829), along with a JMSDF P-1 (MPA) maritime patrol aircraft from Fleet Air Wing 4 based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, monitored the passage of PLAN ships, the statement said.
Dongpinghu, along with a Dongdiao-class surveillance vessel with hull number 794, were spotted sailing northeast in waters about 130 kilometers southwest of Tappizaki, Aomori Prefecture, at 9 a.m. Thursday, a statement from the JSO said. The two vessels then passed through the Tsugaru Strait and were the same as those sighted earlier on Monday and Sunday respectively, the statement added. JMSDF JS Multipurpose Support Vessel Suo (AMS-4302) and a JMSDF P-3C Orion MPA from Fleet Air Wing 2 based at JMSDF Hachinohe Air Base monitored the PLAN ships.
The JSO issued a second press release on Thursday saying that seven Russian Navy ships were sighted 280 kilometers southeast of Cape Nedelin, Hokkaido, at noon on Wednesday. The Japanese government identified the ships by hull numbers and class types corresponding to RFS destroyers Marshal Shaposhnikov (543) and RFS Admiral Panteleev (548); RFS corvette Soverhennyy (333), RFS Gromky (335), RFS Gremyashchiy (337); RFS Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov (339) and RFS Missile Range Instrumentation Ship Marshal Krylov. The ships were then 180 kilometers southeast of Inubosaki, Chiba Prefecture, at 9 a.m. Thursday. JMSDF JS Destroyers yudachi (DD-103) and JS Congo (DDG-173) was monitoring Russian ships, according to the press release.
The Russian ships are all assigned to the Russian Pacific Fleet and the Russian Defense Ministry previously announced that the Russian Pacific Fleet will conduct a large-scale exercise, starting June 3, involving more than 40 ships and around 20 aircraft. in the Pacific Ocean. and the waters around the Kuril Islands.
Meanwhile, U.S. forces on Friday wrapped up the 12-day Valiant Shield 2022 exercise, which included joint operations across sea, land, air and sea, according to a Department of Defense press release. . The biennium included exercises throughout the Joint Mariana Region in Guam, with portions of the exercise taking place in the Northern Mariana Islands.
“This exercise was the perfect opportunity to conduct integrated deterrence, which was the cornerstone of our approach,” Rear Admiral Robb Chadwick, joint exercise Valiant Shield 22 control group director, said in the statement. Press. “We have combined our efforts across all areas of warfare and across the spectrum of conflict to ensure that the United States, alongside our allies and partners, can deter or defeat aggression in any form or sphere. that is.”
The Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike groups, as well as the USS amphibious assault ship Tripoli (LHA-7) participating in Valiant Shield, USNI News previously reported.
The exercise included the U.S. Marine Corps Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) conducting HIMARS Rapid Infiltration (HI-RAIN) with an Air Force National Guard C-130 Hercules, according to the Pentagon press release.
“The inclusion of the HI-RAIN mission significantly increases the lethality of precision fires and the survivability of the HIMARS launcher, crew and aircraft due to reduced exposure to hostile fires,” says the communicated.
The drills culminated in a sinking exercise, or SINKEX, with the ex-USS Vandegrift (FFG-48).
“SINKEX participants included Carrier Air Wing 5 embarked aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), which conducted long-range maritime strikes from fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Seventh Fleet, embarked aboard the USS Tripoli (LHA 7), led the task forces in performing a full live-fire process,” the press release reads. “USS Benfold (DDG 65) launched a targeted surface-to-surface missile, which had a significant impact on the sinking of the Vandegrift. USS Key West (SSN 722), along with B-1B Lancers from the 28th Bomb Wing and F-18s and F-35Bs from Marine Fighter Attack Squadrons (VMFA-533 and VMFA-121) also participated in the SINKEX.
A number of non-U.S. Navy ships have arrived in Guam to rest and replenish before continuing their journey to Hawaii for Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022, which is scheduled to begin in Hawaii on June 29 and continue. continue until August 4. ships include the Indian Navy frigate INS Satpura (F48), BRP Philippine Navy frigate Antonio Luna (FF-151), Indonesian Navy frigate KRI I Gusti Ngurah Rai (332) and KD corvette of the Royal Malaysian Navy Lekir (FSG26).