US Conducts Show of Air Power in the Philippine Sea

Show of force likely aimed at Beijing

On Tuesday, US Navy ships and aircraft conducted drills in the Philippine Sea. The exercises were led by the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Antietam, a guided-missile cruiser.

According to the USS Reagan’s Facebook page, the ships and planes conducted an air power demonstration that showcased “firepower capability and maneuverability while at sea in the Indo-Pacific region.” The demonstration consisted of “formation flybys, high-speed aerial turns, rocket shoots, and a five-inch gun shoot from Antietam.”

The drills came less than a week after the USS Reagan joined an amphibious assault ship to conduct exercises with the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, also in the Philippine Sea.

The exercises come as tensions between the US and China are higher than they have been in decades. Relations have rapidly deteriorated since the coronavirus pandemic began, which has come with an increase in military activity in the Pacific.

One of the more sensitive areas is the South China Sea, where the US rejects most of China’s claims to the waters. Throughout the summer, the US sent aircraft carriers to drill in these disputed waters, including the Reagan.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the assistant news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.