Second carrier to join US ships near Korean Peninsula

Updated 11:37 AM EDT, Sat May 20, 2017
02:20 - Source: CNN
North Korea claims missile can strike US

Story highlights

The move comes days after North Korea showed big leap forward in its missile program

The USS Carl Vinson arrived at Korean Peninsula in April as a show of force

Washington CNN —  

The Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is now conducting training off the coast of Japan and is expected in the coming days to join the USS Carl Vinson in the region, putting two carriers in the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula, two US officials tell CNN.

The move comes just days after North Korea demonstrated a significant leap forward in their missile program after launching a projectile that achieved “successful” controlled reentry into the Earth’s lower atmosphere rather than falling back to the surface, according to a preliminary US intelligence analysis,

The USS Reagan was put out to sea Tuesday after completing a maintenance period and sea trials in its home port of Yokosuka, Japan, according to the Navy.

01:32 - Source: CNN
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“Coming out of a long in-port maintenance period we have to ensure that Ronald Reagan and the remainder of the strike group are integrated properly as we move forward,” Rear Adm. Charles Williams said in a press release.

Once it arrives in the region, the carrier will conduct a variety of training exercises but primarily focus on certifying its ability to safely launch and recover aircraft, the Navy said. Defense officials would not comment on long the two carriers would be there, but ultimately the Reagan is expected to replace the Vinson in the region once its deployment ends.

The 1,092-foot Reagan, a Nimitz-class carrier, has a crew of 4,539 and is equipped with roughly 60 aircraft, according to the Navy. It was commissioned in 2003 and cost about $8.5 billion.

The USS Carl Vinson, also a Nimitz-class carrier, arrived at the Korean Peninsula late last month as a show of force in advance of a long-anticipated sixth nuclear test from the North Korean government.