The USS America (LHA-6), an ultramodern amphibious assault ship, and the USS New Orleans (LPD 18), an amphibious stealth Ship of the U.S. Navy, will be deployed forward in U.S. bases in Japan. The move is drawing attention as Japan is collaborating more closely with the U.S. by strengthening their alliance, as the island country embraces the Reiwa era in the wake of the King Naruhito’s inauguration on May 1. The two nations’ latest battleship deployment is part of cooperative measures to jointly pursue Indo-Pacific Strategy, which demonstrates their close military ties.
According to the U.S. 7th Fleet on Monday, the USS New Orleans and the USS New Orleans will be deployed to replace the combat capabilities of the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG63) and the multipurpose assault ship USS Wasp, stationed at Sasebo Port as part of the US 7th Fleet based in Japan’s Yokosuka Base, which will return to their home port to receive maintenance and repair work.
“The security environment in the Indo-Pacific region demands the deployment of the most advanced U.S. battleships,” the US 7th Fleet said. “Such readiness allows for the most prompt response of our allied maritime forces, and enables U.S. battleships to demonstrate their maximum attack and operational capabilities at the optimum timing.”
The America, set to be deployed forward at the U.S. base in Japan, is considered the strongest amphibious assault ship, which is armored with more than 20 F-35B stealth fighters to carry out combat mission. It means that the U.S. military is deploying a 45,000-ton class ship, the biggest amphibious assault ships in its possession, offering most advanced performance.
The New Orleans is considered highly menacing among all different amphibious ships and also is difficult for the enemy forces to detect, given its stealth function that makes the ship look as small as a fishing boat on the radar screen. The latest deployment means that the U.S. military is heavily concentrating its naval combat capability on the East Asian region in earnest. Some watchers predict that the U.S. will also deploy the USS Zumwalt, the U.S. Navy’s next-generation destroyer armed with a stealth function in a U.S. military base in Japan, in the near future.
The measure is believed to be a blunt move to counter China, which is strengthening its naval forces through, among others, the construction of aircraft carriers. The U.S. is strengthening military cooperation with Japan while offering its top secret software as part of joint search operation for the debris of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) F-35A stealth fighter, which crashed in waters east of Aomori early this month.
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