U.S. Navy kicks off three-carrier exercise in Western Pacific

NORFOLK, Va. - The three-carrier exercise involving the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz, and USS Theodore Roosevelt got underway Saturday.

It’s the first three-carrier exercise in the Western Pacific since 2007.

The exercise demonstrated the U.S. Navy's capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.

"It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three," said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, Adm. Scott Swift. "Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region."

The strike force plans to conduct air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers and other training.

U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have recently conducted dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific including in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea.