The United States has sailed its USS Wasp amphibious warship with F-35 aircraft, near Scarborough Shoal, a strategic reef claimed by Beijing, Manila and Taipei.
Filipino fishermen near the reef that lies just 230 km (140 miles) from the Philippine coast spotted the massive US vessel on Tuesday, according to ABS-CBN News.
In a video released along with the report, planes were seen landing and taking off from the ship, some 5 km (3 miles) away from the fishermen’s boat.
“The Wasp has been training with Philippine Navy ships in Subic Bay and in international waters of the South China Sea … for several days,” US military spokeswoman told Japan Times.
Scarborough Shoal was formerly administered by the Philippines. In 2012 Scarborough Shoal standoff, China sent warships to invade the shoal, the administration of the shoal was taken by People's Republic of China. China later effectively blockaded the lagoon, which is rich in fish stocks, and routinely dispatches scores of fishing vessels and government-backed “maritime militia” ships to the area to continue its de facto blockade.
According to experts, control over Scarborough would create a large “strategic triangle” comprising Woody Island in the Paracel Islands to the northwest and its Spratly islet outposts to the south, giving Beijing the ability to police an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea.
The US was expected to defend the territory of the Philippines during the standoff as the two nations had a Mutual Defense Treaty. But America chose to distance itself from the tension, and verbally protested against China instead.
The incident strained Philippines-China relations and Philippines-US relations, with some Filipino officials calling the US an “unreliable ally.”
“The Wasp was taking part in the annual Balikatan US-Philippine military training exercise that focuses on maritime security and amphibious capabilities, as well as multinational interoperability through military exchanges,” said US Marine Corps Second Lt. Tori Sharpe, a spokeswoman for the exercises.
The Wasp’s presence in the South China Sea is likely to draw Beijing’s attention since the exercise is the first to incorporate the Wasp paired with the US Marines Corps’ F-35B Lightning II stealth aircraft.
“Together they represent an increase in military capability committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Sharpe said.
The US Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of the site in January last year as part of its larger “freedom of navigation operations” (FONOPs) program in the South China Sea and across the globe.
North Korea attempted to sell air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology meant for non-nuclear submarines to Taiwan, according to Taiwanese media. A Taiwanese trading company that frequently dealt with North Korea received a "mandate" from the countrys national defense commission
Aviation Industries Corporation of China (AVIC), China state-owned civil and military plane manufacturer plans to set up a plant in the European country of Croatia. AVIC makes several civilian airplanes and has big plans to get into the global market for single and double aisle airliners challenging the traditional dominance of Airbus and Boeing
The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has planned to showcase new and upgraded locally-made aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and destroyers during a military parade that is set to take place between 22 and 25 April. "At this naval parade the PLA Navy ships and aircraft to be revealed are the Liaoning aircraft carrier, new types of nuclear submarines, new types of destroyers, as well as fighter aircraft
A team of 193 Chinese designers have developed and conducted prototype testing of a new turbofan engine meant for Carrier-based stealth fighters. "The engine could be related to China's medium-sized twin-engine stealth aircraft FC-31, which could become China's next generation aircraft carrier-based fighter jet," Wei Dongxu, a military expert told Global Times
Lockheed Martin is working on achieving a $25,000 Cost per Flight Hour (CPFH) for its F-35 joint strike fighter by 2025. The CPHF target is comparable to the cost to sustain legacy aircraft, while providing a generational leap in capability; a Lockheed Martin release said adding that the target will be deliver 80 percent mission capable rates in the near term
Russia has completed deliveries of 24 Sukhoi Su-35 'Flanker-E' multirole fighters to China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). "The delivery of those platforms to the People's Republic of China has been completed,"
China has unveiled an armed amphibious drone boat which can lead an invasion and can operate as part of a swarm of drones including airborne UAVs. Named "Marine Lizard," the drone is developed by Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group under China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC)
Israeli Startup Unveils World's First Electric Passenger Airplane
US Military Drone Shot Down By Iran
Sniper rifles, Counter-artillery Radars in $250M US Military Aid to Ukraine
Mitsubishi Signs MoU to Sell 15 SpaceJet M100 Aircraft to North American
Russia To Offer Customizable MiG-35 Jet To India
Turkish Aerospace Uncovers Fifth-gen TF-X Jet Mock-up at Paris Air Show 2019
US to Sell 8 Weaponized F-16 Fighter jets to Bulgaria for $1.67
Pakistani-Chinese JF-17 Thunder Seeks New Markets at Paris Air Show 2019
While the US F-35 stealth aircraft has become one the fastest selling fighter jets in the world aircraft market, thanks...
Russian state-run Almaz-Antey has released additional data on its latest export-version of Buk-M3 Viking air defense missile system (ADMS)
The MiG-29, one of Russias most exported military jet has been upgraded in India that expands its capabilities from an...
Russian fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) Su-57 will for the first time perform flights during the ARMY 2018 event near...
The American-made Patriot and Russian S-400 Triumf air defense systems are currently hogging international orders despite their price tags running...
The Russian ministry of defense on Thursday published a series of videos showcasing the production, deployment and installation and testing...