Maintenance issue delays patrol of US Navy’s Japan-based aircraft carrier

Illustration: USS Ronald Reagan sailing in the Philippine Sea during her 2016 patrol. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy’s Japan-based aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan will have to spend additional time in port after an unspecified maintenance issue was found prior to the carrier’s departure for a regional patrol.

The issue was discovered during routine pre-underway checks, the navy said without specifying when the carrier could be expected to get underway for its scheduled patrol.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier completed a five-month selective restricted availability (SRA) maintenance period and started sea trials on May 7.

Once the Ronald Reagan carrier strike group starts the Asia-Pacific region patrol, the ship and its air wing will boost the U.S. military presence in the region in the wake of mounting tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, caused by the Pyongyang regime’s repeated missile tests.

North Korea has stepped up missile tests recently and has made several launches since U.S. president Donald Trump took office in January. The latest missile test took place on Sunday with a new type of rocket capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

The U.S. Navy already has one aircraft carrier operating in waters of the Korean Peninsula. The San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson was ordered to change course in April and sail north instead of visiting Australia for exercises, following North Korean tests.

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