The Pentagon staged its largest exercise in the South China Sea in years, sending two carrier battle groups and a B-52H Stratofortress heavy strategic bomber into the strategic waterway. The carrier battle group demonstrated that the U.S. military could still deploy a considerable military force thousands of miles from home in the middle of a global pandemic. China says that the exercise was “muscle flexing” designed to militarize the region.
The two carriers, the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan, rendezvoused in an undisclosed location in the South China Sea. Together, the two carrier strike groups formed the Nimitz Carrier Strike Force. The Strike Force ran “several tactical exercises designed to maximize air defense capabilities, and extend the reach of long range precision maritime strikes from carrier-based aircraft in a rapidly evolving area of operations.” Strike fighters from both carriers simulated enemy air attacks, “ testing the force’s ability to detect, intercept, and engage threats.”