The US Navy’s George Washington and Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Groups, as well as land-based aircraft from Marine Corps Air Group 12 and Air Force 36th Operations Group completed dynamic war-at-sea exercises (WASEX) as part of Valiant Shield Sept. 16 and 18.
These WASEXs utilized joint assets to simulate long range strikes against hostile surface warships in order to improve joint interoperability, to assess dual carrier strike group and joint operations and to conduct maritime threat neutralization.
“WASEXs are conducted by naval assets around the world and in their most basic form they are the execution of, in this case, an air-launched attack against simulated adversary surface ships played by U.S. surface combatants,” said Rear. Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet.
Participants in Valiant Shield include the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS George Washington (CVN 73) and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and its embarked air wing, CVW-17, cruisers and destroyers, Military Sealift Command ships, more than 100 additional Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps aircraft, and an estimated 18,000 Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps personnel.
“The joint environment provides a lot of additional capability,” said Montgomery. “We can conduct organic air wing strikes and do them very efficiently, but we do them more effectively and efficiently when we have our joint partners. They can provide aerial refueling, data location, air-to-air support and escort in and out of the strike mission.”
Participating forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of joint forces. These capabilities will encompass air-defense exercises and complex warfighting.
Valiant Shield is the largest joint unilateral military exercise in the Pacific this year, with a focus on intergration of joint training among U.S. forces.
This training enables real world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.
The lessons learned from exercises like Valiant Shield will assist the U.S. in continuing to develop regional and global power projection capabilities that provide a full-range of options to succeed in defense of its interests and those of its allies and partners around the world.