The aircraft carrier Nimitz started operating in the South China Sea last week for the first time since deploying last month.
The Nimitz and its strike group, which arrived in the South China Sea on Jan. 12, is carrying out maritime strike training, anti-submarine operations, integrated multi-domain and joint training between surface and air elements, and flight operations while there.
“The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group has the capability to deliver integrated lethal and non-lethal effects from space to undersea, across every axis, and every domain,” Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, commander of Carrier Strike Group 11, said in a statement. “Our Sailors’ tenacity and warfighting prowess are unmatched and a testimony to our country’s determination to work alongside our Allies and partners to maintain free and open seas.”
Meanwhile, Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong conducted live fire exercises days after the U.S. carrier entered the waters, according to the state-owned media outlet Global Times. These exercises included simulated hostile aircraft attacks, and interception training with J-15 fighter jets, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy said in a statement.
The Nimitz departed San Diego on Dec. 3 for the deployment. Its strike group includes the guided-missile cruiser Bunker Hill and the guided-missile destroyers Decatur, Paul Hamilton, Chung Hoon, Wayne E. Meyer and Shoup, along with the staffs of Destroyer Squadron 9. Likewise, Carrier Air Wing 17 is embarked on the vessel.
Prior to getting underway, the carrier was temporarily sidelined during pre-deployment exercises in the Pacific after jet fuel was detected in one of its 26 potable water tanks. However, Navy officials said the ship got underway again in October to complete its Composite Training Unit Exercise.
The carrier returned from its last deployment in February 2021, marking the end of a historic 11-month stretch at sea.