aircraft carriers bomber north korea pacific

The US Navy ended President Donald Trump’s trip to Asia with a bang by having three aircraft carriers drill with South Korean and Japanese navy ships in the Pacific in a clear message to North Korea.

The US Navy rarely gets to train with two aircraft carriers working together, and the last time three came together was 10 years ago. But the US now has seven aircraft carriers at sea and brought three of them together to put on a show of force no other nation on earth could possibly stage.

The ships did air-defense drills, sea surveillance, and defensive air-combat training, according to a US Navy release. Between the three US carriers and one smaller Japanese carrier, the naval formation likely had more than 200 aircraft ready to strike at a moment’s notice.

North Korea likely doesn’t have 200 aircraft to scramble even under the best circumstances, as it sorely lacks aviation fuel.

Additionally, the formation may have sent a message to China, which seeks to unseat the US as the great power in the Pacific. The US Navy has the tools to unilaterally overwhelm any other navy, but it enjoys the support of its allies like South Korea and Japan. Though China has ambitions to grow its carrier force, it still doesn’t have powerful allies like the US does.

See the best pictures from the exercise in the photos below:

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Here are the four aircraft carriers being overflown by US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers. These bombers routinely train on striking North Korea from Guam.

Here are US Navy F/A-18 fighter jets flying over the formation.

Here are three US aircraft carriers at sea together for the first time in a decade.

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