In the wake of the tragedy in the Japanese archipelago, which left more than 100 people dead, the United States and Japan announced they will resume the deployment of their own vessels to sea, starting with the USS Carl Vinson, which will join the American carrier group USS Gerald R. Ford in the South China Sea.
But the USS George Washington and USS John C. Stennis are still under construction, while the USS Ronald Reagan is still under development, as are the three American frigates, USS Fitzgerald and USS Ross, according to a statement from the Navy.
And while the US Navy is currently building a carrier group for the first time in years, it’s not just about ships.
It’s also about building new capabilities, the statement said.
The US military has been ramping up in the Asia-Pacific region since the US launched its first aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz in 2008, which was followed by a smaller carrier group called the Strike Group.
And the US Air Force is working on a larger group of aircraft carriers that will be deployed in 2018, with the goal of fielding more aircraft carriers than there are active carriers.
But while US carriers have been able to sail around the world, the Navy has been struggling to get its planes out of harm’s way in the Pacific.
That’s due to a series of high-profile accidents, including the sinking of the USS Fitzgerald in Japan in May and the USS John S. McCain in the Korean peninsula in June.
In the aftermath of the accidents, the US Department of Defense asked for a fleet of about 15 aircraft carriers to be built, according a statement by Pentagon spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Glynn.
But the proposal has yet to be approved.
The new carrier group is expected to include about two dozen new aircraft carriers, which would be the first of its kind for the US.
That would include the new Nimitz, a Boeing 787-10, which could have a range of nearly 4,000 nautical miles and carry a load of about 8,000 tons, according the Navy’s announcement.
The USS Gerald is the largest of the new carriers, and it’s also scheduled to be the largest aircraft carrier in the world when it arrives in the Philippines in 2022, according an aircraft carrier commissioning statement.
But it’s only a temporary fix.
As the carrier group develops, the Pentagon will be looking for a more permanent solution to the crisis in the region, and that solution will likely involve a massive build-up of ships and aircraft carriers.