Japan cancels joint exercise with USS Carl Vinson fighter jets

By Elizabeth Shim  |  April 26, 2017 at 1:45 PM
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April 26 (UPI) -- A Japanese fighter jet was scheduled to train with carrier-capable aircraft on the USS Carl Vinson, but the exercise was canceled due to bad weather, Kyodo News reported.

One F-15 fighter jet of Japan's air self-defense force was grounded on Wednesday because it was unable to join an exercise in eastern Okinawa in southern Japan.

The jet would have trained with two of the Carl Vinson's FA-18 Super Hornets, a twin-engine multirole fighter aircraft, in an unprecedented exercise for Japan's military that involves a U.S. aircraft carrier.

Earlier on Sunday, two convoys of Japan's maritime self-defense force trained with the U.S. carrier strike group in the Philippine Sea, according to the report.

Japanese television network NHK reported two carrier-capable planes, most likely the FA-18 jets with the Carl Vinson group, arrived at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, where they left 2 hours after refueling.

Plans for the Carl Vinson's return to the Korean peninsula began after U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States was sending an "armada" to deter North Korea.

But the carrier strike group, which includes destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, cannot shoot down ballistic missiles, Bloomberg reported.

The Carl Vinson is not equipped with an Aegis surveillance system capable of tracking long-range ballistic missiles, nor does it have SM-3 interceptors that can take down mid-range and long-range projectiles, according to the report.

"One carrier by itself is not a game changer," said Omar Lamrani, a senior military analyst at Stratfor. It's "not going to do terribly much by itself."

Pentagon spokesman and Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross told Bloomberg "No single capability defends against all threats. Rather it is the employment of integrated, multi-layered land and sea-based systems that provide missile defense."

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