The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group conducted operations with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Philippine Sea and East China Sea Monday.
The carrier strike group teamed up with Japanese destroyers Inazuma and Kongo to complete air warfare training and other exercises aimed at boosting integrated maritime operations and combat readiness, the Navy said.
“Our enduring commitments to our relationships in the Indo-Pacific region continue to grow and blossom through integrated and bilateral at-sea exercises including the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force,” Rear Adm. J.T. Anderson, commander of CSG 3, said in a Navy news release. “These exercises demonstrate our collective combat-credible capabilities while safeguarding our shared interests and values.”
The operations come after the Navy announced a week ago that a U.S. carrier was operating off the Korean peninsula in the Sea of Japan for the first time since 2017. The move followed North Korea’s test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile in March.
“Routine bilateral operations like this one reassure our allies and partners of the U.S. commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Cmdr. Hayley Sims, a spokesperson for the 7th Fleet, said in an email to Navy Times. “Our training enhances the credibility of conventional deterrence by demonstrating the strength of our bilateral partnerships.”
The Lincoln departed San Diego Jan. 3 for a regularly scheduled deployment and is the first to include Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314, the Marine Corps’ first F-35C Lightning II stealth fighter jet squadron. The Lincoln’s carrier strike group includes the guided-missile cruiser Mobile Bay, and the guided-missile destroyers Fitzgerald, Gridley, Sampson and Spruance.