Super Hornet fighter jets, assault helicopters, and E-2 Hawkeyes.
These are just some of the dozens of aircraft transported by the nuclear powered USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) – one of the world’s largest naval vessels – now anchored off Manila for a 5-day port visit.
At 1,092 feet in length and about four times the size of a football field, that’s how big the Carl Vinson is.
More than 5,500 U.S. sailors are onboard, in what many see as a show of force amid growing concerns over Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea.
But the Carl Vinson’s spokesperson stressed that the supercarrier is here just for routine operations to promote freedom of the seas.
Lt Cmdr Tim Hawkins, Public Affairs Officer of the USS Carl Vinson, said: “For 70 years we have been operating routinely not only in the South China Sea but throughout the Western Pacific to do a few things … Not only to work with our partners and allies, but also to promote regional security and stability … All should operate in accordance with international law, rules, standards and norms in order to keep the seas free, and commerce moving freely.”
The warship is often deployed for humanitarian and disaster relief efforts, as well.
It’s powered by two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors driving four steam turbines and has been on active duty for 35 years, most recently in the Western Pacific.
The ship arrived together with the guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy, which is visiting the Philippines for the first time.
Washington has made no claims in the disputed region, but has always maintained that freedom of navigation and overflight are in its national interest.