Friday, August 7, 2020

U.S. Deploys Carriers and Upgrades Air Base in Pacific to Fight China

The US Navy’s Pacific fleet is currently conducting dual-carrier drills in the South China Sea, just as the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) finished its own lesser naval exercises. The show of force by the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Regan carrier strike forces did not go unnoticed.

China was clearly irked and quickly put out a tweet by their state affiliated mouthpiece – the Global Times.

“China has a wide selection of anti-aircraft carrier weapons like DF-21D and DF-26 ‘aircraft carrier killer’ #missiles. South China Sea is fully within grasp of the #PLA; any US #aircraftcarrier movement in the region is at the pleasure of PLA,” Global Times tweeted, along with pictures of Chinese missiles.

The US Navy did not miss a beat in the messaging war, and quickly responded with its own – perhaps better – tweet:

“And yet, there they are. Two @USNavy aircraft carriers operating in the international waters of the South China Sea. #USSNimitz & #USSRonaldReagan are not intimidated #AtOurDiscretion.”

The ramp-up of US Navy fleet activity, combined with deployments of Air Force bombers to the region, are only part of the US strategy to confront China’s illegal and increasingly belligerent expansionism. As reported by The Drive, the US is also dramatically improving its military airbase on Wake Island.

New satellite imagery that The War Zone obtained from Planet Labs dated June 25th, 2020 shows that substantial improvements to the base have occurred recently. Based on archival satellite imagery, the major expansions to the airfield began early this year and are still underway today.

Wake Island, an unincorporated territory of the US, sits 1,500 miles east of Guam, outside the range of China’s and North Korea’s medium-range ballistic missiles, and mostly, if not entirely, out of range of their intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs). Guam is well within the range of these Chinese weapons.

As further described by The Drive, most of the restricted-access Wake Island atoll is taken up by a 9,800-foot runway—long enough to accommodate anything in the Pentagon’s inventory—and the infrastructure surrounding it. The island is best known as an emergency divert and stopping point for US aircraft crossing the Pacific.

As China increasingly threatens US forward bases – such as Kadena and Okinawa in Japan, as well as Guam – with vast numbers of ballistic and cruise missiles, Wake Island would become a critical strategic fallback base during the initial stages of a major conflict.

Turning Wake Island into a fallback base and airpower hub in the Pacific is already being tested. The Drive notes that “last year, B-2 Spirits stealth bombers used the airfield for the first time as a forward re-arming and refueling point (FARP), with their sorties beginning at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, not Guam. This would be the likely arrangement if U.S. installations to the east were threatened or destroyed during a conflict.”

While Wake Island is at the very limit of US aircraft and refueler range to targets in and around China, it is the best option US forces have in the Pacific if their other forward bases are initially knocked out. The ongoing upgrades are vital and well timed.

China needs to get the message clearly that the US is fully committed to maintaining its peacetime presence and warfighting capability in the Western Pacific.

READ NEXT: U.S. Marine Corps Transforming to Defeat China >>

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Paul Crespo
Paul Crespo
Paul Crespo is a defense and national security expert. He served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. He holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. Paul is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and a Contributor to American Defense News.

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nilafa9416
nilafa9416
1 month ago

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Jojodmonkey
Jojodmonkey
30 days ago

It is time to destroy the Chinese Communist Democrats and break China up to its original 7 nation! The entire 75 million communist must be executed and the new nation must be led by Taiwan for the first twenty years!

Ithamar
Ithamar
30 days ago

And how much better would it be to focus on fighting the communist inside our own country, even in Washington, the congress and the courts.?

Kdub
Kdub
29 days ago
Reply to  Ithamar

AMEN Ithamar….I was hoping that was who they were talking about too. Republicans are shady too…at least the ones that have been there long enough to be in the deep state category. Sometimes I feel like poor Trump is fighting for our country all by his lonesome. These deep state jerks know they are protected….

Guillermo F
Guillermo F
30 days ago

I thought the article was referring to the REAL “communist foe” , the D-Rat party, Soros, and the MSM. The Chinese? meh

carol usaf62
carol usaf62
30 days ago

Look at the money the Democrat’s nominee have in Chinese then you will know.

Scotty
Scotty
29 days ago

I am more worried about the Communists in THIS country, than the Communists in China. And people keep electing them! I just don’t get it.
Vote the Trump team PLEASE!

Kdub
Kdub
29 days ago
Reply to  Scotty

Some people don’t have enough sense to worry about who they elect. All they see is a D after their name and figure the Dumb Dems will “take care of them”….

Jojodmonkey
Jojodmonkey
29 days ago

I like the headline in the email; President Trump is prepared to defeat his communist foes! He should start right here at home and destroy every democrat in the USA!

A. D Roberts
29 days ago

Get this. China sells most of its junk to us. So what moron over there is going to attack our fleet for the sake of their claim to the South China sea and IMMEDIATELY have all trade with America SHUT DOWN.
Let them. That will destroy China. And anyone with a brain knows that.

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