Washington is sending its third aircraft carried-led strike group to the western Pacific stretch closer to the waters of the Korean peninsula in what is seen as an unusual show of force amid tensions in the region. USS Nimitz, one of the world's largest warships, will join two other supercarriers, USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan, which are already sailing in the region.
It is extremely rare for the US to deploy three aircraft carriers simultaneously in the same region and this is additionally significant given the existing tensions in the Korean peninsula. The US Navy has not explicitly said Nimitz is intended for operations related to North Korea but said the aircraft carrier will be mobilised in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
"I am so incredibly proud of the entire Nimitz team and the terrific coordination and support across the entire strike group, especially in such a condensed training cycle. The crew stepped up to the plate, and I'm confident we're ready to meet whatever challenges lie ahead on our upcoming deployment," said Captain Kevin Lenox, commanding officer of Nimitz.
Nimitz is flanked by guided-missile destroyers and guided-missile cruisers in its voyage towards the western Pacific. Two sources have told the Voice of America that the latest deployment is aimed at a show of strength to North Korea, which has been rapidly ramping up its weapons programme in recent months.
Both Reagan and Vinson are nuclear-powered Nimitz-class carriers hosting dozens of warplanes. The 1,092-foot Reagan carrying more than 4,500 crew members was sent to the region in mid-May while Vinson was deployed in April.