For The First Time In A Decade, US Puts On 3 Carrier "Show Of Force" Next To North Korea

Tyler Durden's picture

Three US nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carriers representing nearly $30 billion of advanced military hardware put on show of force in the Western Pacific Ocean over the weekend, the first time three of the 100,000-ton behemoths have sailed together in a decade. Amidst heightened tensions with North Korea the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt are currently engaged in a four day war games exercise which will link up with allies Japan and South Korea, who are also participating. 

The last time three US aircraft carrier strike groups worked together in the Western Pacific was off the US island of Guam in 2007, according to a Navy statement.

The USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz and their multi-ship strike groups are participating in the four days of exercises, which are expected to end Tuesday.  A South Korean Defense Ministry official said the three US carriers held drills on either side of the waters separating the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Exercises closest to the Korean coast involved US and South Korean ships, while those closest to Japan involved US and Japanese ships, the official said.

Image source: US Navy

"Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the US Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region," Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement.

"We sent three of the largest aircraft carriers in the world (to the Korean Peninsula) and a nuclear submarine is also positioned," US President Donald Trump said after his arrival in South Korea last week.

Images dated November 12 and posted by the US Navy's 7th Fleet.

Though the Navy says the drills are meant to showcase its “unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinate strike force effort,” the three-carrier strike force is no doubt meant to send a signal of overwhelming military might to North Korea's Kim Jong-Un. 

Image source: US Navy

The full deployment of US naval forces around the globe is shown in the following map courtesy of Stratfor:

Ironically, on the very day the drills were formally launched President Trump tweeted the following from Vietnam where he was attending the APEC Summit while in the midst of a 12-day, five-nation trip to Asia:

As we've observed many time before, the possibility of a war between the US and North Korea seems just one harshly worded tweet away, and the window of opportunity for a diplomatic solution, as well as for the US stopping Kim Jong-Un from obtaining a nuclear-armed ICBM closing fast, analysts have started to analyze President Trump’s military options, what a war between the US and North Korea would look like, and what the global economic consequences would be.

The rarity of seeing this many Nimitz-class supercarriers at once - especially at this moment of extreme tension - is perhaps a sign that we are inching toward such an unthinkable and unpredictable war. The drill constitutes the first time in a decade that a three-carrier strike force has been deployed to the region and various reports have acknowledged the build-up of this many carriers as "unusual".

The USS Ronald Reagan maneuvers along the coast toward the port at Busan, Republic of Korea in October. Image source: US Navy

South Korea's role in the drills are summarized as follows:

Following the bilateral JMSDF-US Navy exercise, the carriers strike groups linked up with seven Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) warships including two Aegis guided missile destroyers for war games meant to deter North Korea. “The combined drills are to present our resolve and will to deter North Korea’s provocations and retaliate if provoked,” Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean official as saying.

Meanwhile, the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s official media outlet, issued a statement on November 11, accusing the United States of an unnecessary provocation which could trigger an arms race. “The U.S. efforts to expand its military influence in Asia-Pacific and the movement of big neighboring powers to contain it escalate the military tension and increase arms race in the region with each passing day,” it said.

KCNA also said that the presence of the three carriers was part of Washington's "sinister intention to maintain military hegemony in the region."

North Korean government officials told CNN's Will Ripley in Pyongyang last week that the US was increasingly taking action that could "ignite another Korean War."

"Nobody knows when and how the 'war maniac' Trump will ignite the 'wick of war,'" the officials said, referring to the presence of the carriers near the peninsula.

One hopes that the only time the world witnesses such a rare group deployment of three nuclear-powered US carrier is during drills, especially since the next sighting could mean the world has already plunged into war... even if it means providing the enemy with the most convenient target possible, one that would inflict more military damage on the US than any in history.

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skbull44's picture

Sure to help de-escalate...

Looney's picture


Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old"?”

The number of rings in the Presidential Trunk should be classified.   ;-)


ToSoft4Truth's picture

"All hands, no fist"


- Melania

J S Bach's picture

I'm not a military person, but it just seems to me that a few well-placed cruise missiles fired by the enemy could easily wipe out these $30 billion behemoths.  I know they're loaded with advanced technology, but what good is it when it's all concentrated into one huge sitting duck?  It fear that, come a rear-life war situation against a capable foe, our carriers will suffer the same fate as that of the old battleships during World War II.

blown income's picture

Solid statement right there.


Dame Ednas Possum's picture

Solid statement of limp-dick. 

Before blowing these raspberries, I'm sure the war mongers gave considerable thought to the fact that the Norks have the biggest fleet of submarines in the world. 

The Vietnamese earned some genocide without the Gulf of Tonkin Crisis even occurring... the ((guys*)) who sank the USS Liberty... not so much. 

*Not to be confused with 'goys'.


shitshitshit's picture

you don't even need to sink one to make it a PR disaster for the USA. You just need to scratch the paintjob or dent the hull... This is sheer stupidity, while at the same time theyre trying to ignite ME. 


SickDollar's picture

Murikans are full of shit and the world knows it, enjoy your last days  of the Empire


HowdyDoody's picture

3 ducks in a row.

Sunburn - one shot, 3 hits.

eclectic syncretist's picture

Putting all your aircraft carriers together in one place at one time sounds a little like the Battle of Midway.

BennyBoy's picture


I wonder if NK neighbors Russia or China, or even Iran, has sold NK those super fast missles that aircraft carriers have no defense for?

French Bloke's picture

Meanwhile, the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s official media outlet, issued a statement on November 11, accusing the United States of an unnecessary provocation which could trigger an arms race. “

Blah blah blah - It's nothing more than a sales pitch. There will be no war. SK and Japan buying $billions worth of USeless hardware as though they're scared of NK. And Vietnam being courted to buy as well. It' all part of the MIC sales scam. Huge bag of bollocks IMO.

KnightTakesKing's picture

Only reason to do this is for the photo op. Once the photos were taken I'm sure they put some distance between the CVs.

trulz4lulz's picture

Yeah...the Battle of Midway was missing a very crucial component of the 21st Century, super Sonic and hyper Sonic cruise missiles armed with 50kt nuclear war heads. I think those will prove more effective that long gun cannons and "Amurican Grit".

OverTheHedge's picture

There was a comment on another article suggesting that Hitler was a monumentally incompetent tactician, and lost because he made ridiculously stupid decisions. Is Trump going to be lumped in with Hitler now?

I wonder if, in hindsight, this will become one of those "Pearl Harbour" moments, and if, as with Pedal Harbour, it is entirely intentional. NK has over 700 submarines: it only takes one lucky shot. Personally I think Mr Kim has shown astonishing restraint so far.

IronForge's picture

Some Subs carry SLBMs too.



Bush Baby's picture

The Norks have diesel subs, about as quiet as the A-Train heading up to Harlem, you can hear them in NJ.

A war would start by the U.S. subs toasting the NK subs before the first bomb landed.


veritas semper vinces's picture

our carriers can not win a "battle" with a container ship.

But,hey,what do I know. i'm not part of the Pentagram geniuses of macabre comedy.

reload's picture

I agree ! If there was any perceived danger of NK going agressive, these toys would be safely in port. The fact that they are strutting their stuff in a `show of force` means that NK is not expected to go agressive and that the US is not going to provoke them into aggression. 

Mistakes can happen though - as can false flags. 

Winston Churchill's picture

Nuke sea mines don't need much accuracy or a sophisticated delivery method.The tsunami does the work.

Backing the Norks into a corner isn't clever or wise.

monk27's picture

Fortunately, the rule of thumb for conflicts seems to be: the more aggressive the posturing, the less probable the real action... Which is good because we don't live in "wise" times nor do we have any "wise" people in control of our institutions...

Badsamm's picture

Just think of the scuba tours though.

bloostar's picture

Particularly if they run into each other... yet again.  Or come up against the might of an NK oil tanker fitted with rubber tyres and 2hp engines.

Salsa Verde's picture

What better way to marry the West into an endless war with Asia for the next century?

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ J S,

Great observation & points.

Nuclear powered? Will be Nuclear waste at the bottom of the sea further annihilating our ecosystem.

“Never let a good crises go to waste.”

ali-ali-al-qomfri's picture

a terrible thought,

theses behemoths need to be decommissioned, never done that before.

why not just sink them in the nuclear dumping ground;

Mt. Mantap is hot,

Fukushima wont stop,

that whole area has become a forbiden zone


Sirius Wonderblast's picture

I wonder if the submarine isn't the real threat.

cheech_wizard's picture

A "few" will not be enough.... it would have to be a saturation attack.

Diatom's picture

<<<< Zircon missiles

<<<< Nimitz aircraft carriers

SoDamnMad's picture

If they sunk or damaged one or more along with some support ships, they would have to replace them. Then the MIC would be ungodly happy with that.

Smedley Butler was right.

jaxville's picture

  It's nothing more than an impressive photo op.  War with Nk will mean war with Red China. 

   Pretty hard to hide a carrier group in this day and age. 

Dontblamethegoat's picture

Consider:  Each of the 12 escorts are probably Aegis DDGs ... menaing they each carry around 90 missiles to be usd to knock down incoming anti-ship missiles:

So just a rough estimate is  there are about 1,080 missiles on those 12 escorts.

If you are curious, you can game how many NoKo or Chinese or Russian anti-ship missiles it will take to get to the CVNs the escorts are protecting.

But assume it takes 3 of ours to shoot down 1 of theirs ... that means they would have to launch somewhere around 300 of their anti-ship missiles to take our our CVNs.  

So if that is what they want to do:

1-  The launches of 300 missiles will be seen by satellites; we will know where they came from ...

2 - They will have just started a war that will result in massive retaliation, maybe conventional, maybe nuclear.


"A few well placed cruise missiles" won't do shit.



European American's picture

Quack quack, sitting ducks. With turkeys at the helm, gobble gobble

MozartIII's picture

Until they crash into a cargo ship or an island. Bang Ding Ow!


US Navy, a global force for crashing into things.

HRClinton's picture

There's a simple way you just KNOW there will NOT be war:


Need I say more?  Sheesh!


Now, about those Samsung deals for Black Friday...

Looney's picture


Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old"?

“Age is just a number”, Donald. Oh, and here’s another one: “You’re only as old as you feel".

What a load of Gerbil Shit! Tell it to a 7-year-old kid trying to get a driver’s license at the DMV or buy a pack of smokes.  Come on, Donald, you’re older than dirt and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!   ;-)


Ferrari's picture

Nice targets!

I'm sure it's a safe bet Lil' Kim hasn't recieved any silkworm missiles from his BFF China to ruin the party...

spanish inquisition's picture

No shit. Let's group them closer to make a better target.

SpanishGoop's picture

They are smart.

The bigger targets in the front so the little ones can escape when attacked.

trulz4lulz's picture

How exactly does a mega tonnage ship, outrun 12 sub launched cruise missiles traveling at 2500 km/h? 

Or was this just sarcasm and I totally missed it.

Dame Ednas Possum's picture

"You're only as old as the woman you feel" 



Ben Tornilloed's picture

Not everyone has the pleasure of getting old.

Laughing.Man's picture

After walking through an retirement home, watching them sitting on wheelchairs, drooling all over themselves, screaming incessantly, I'm not so sure if I want to live that long.