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First US Navy Carrier Strike Group Carrying F-35C Stealth Fighters Enters the South China Sea

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A U.S. Navy carrier strike group carrying F-35C stealth fighters has entered the South China Sea for the first time during its current deployment and is conducting “maritime security operations,” officials said on Tuesday. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson, which departed San Diego last month, will conduct flight operations with fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, maritime strike exercises, as well as coordinated tactical training between surface and air units in the disputed region, the Navy said in a press release. The operations in the South China Sea are part of the U.S. Navy’s routine presence in the Indo-Pacific, officials said, noting that the strike group is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations “in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.” “The freedom of all nations to navigate in international waters is important, and especially vital in the South China Sea, where nearly a third …

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