The U.S. Navy just finished a major exercise in the Philippine Sea that was meant to show how the U.S. and its allies can rapidly gather and deploy a deadly combat force in the area in case of war in the Pacific.
A U.S. Navy photo show two San Diego-based warships maneuvering in the Philippine Sea with one of the Navy’s most unusual new vessels, the amphibious assault ship USS Essex.
The Essex flight deck was crowded with helicopters, tiltrotors and F-35C stealth jets, as it maneuvered with the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay and the new expeditionary sea base USS Miguel Keith.
Noble Fusion was an exercise from Feb. 3 to 7 that included units of the U.S. Navy, Marines and Air Force along with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
It was led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and ranged from the Luzon Strait to the Miyako Strait and the East China Sea, encompassing a wide swath of the First Island Chain, including littoral areas in the vicinity of Okinawa.
The Navy said the intent was to show how the United States and its allies can “rapidly aggregate as a combat force to conduct lethal sea-denial operations, seize key maritime terrain, guarantee freedom of movement, and create all-domain advantage” in case of war in the Pacific.
“The exercise was about using the sea as maneuver space to achieve positional advantage. It was about exercising our ability to maneuver critical capability to locations in the time and space of our choosing,” said Brig. Gen. Kyle Ellison, commander of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.