USS Ronald Reagan, the only forward-deployed U.S. Nimitz-class supercarrier, departed the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, on Friday for sea trials after a four-month maintenance period. The carrier has been in Yokosuka since early December 2017.
The nuclear-powered carrier left U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka after successfully completing a two-day fast cruise, according to a statement released by U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka.
“This is what we have been working towards for these last few months,” Capt. Buzz Donnelly, Ronald Reagan‘s commanding officer, said in a statement.
“Everyone involved has made it possible to get us poised for success for our upcoming patrols. I’m proud of the crew and we’re ready to showcase our capability.”
The sea trials will last for one week and “are designed to test the ship’s systems and equipment” following its maintenance. The Ronald Reagan is the flagship of the U.S. Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 5.
It was involved in a dual-carrier deployment last year off the Korean Peninsula alongside USS Carl Vinson. In 2017, the Ronald Reagan also deployed to support exercise activities at the biennial Talisman Saber drills in Australia.
In September 2017, following North Korea’s launch of the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japanese territory, the Ronald Reagan conducted patrols in the Sea of Japan.
In November, Ronald Reagan joined the Carl Vinson and Nimitz strike groups in a rare four-day three-carrier exercise. The exercise was the first of its kind since a similar one in 2007 during the Valiant Shield exercise that year.
In 2015, Ronald Reagan arrived in Yokosuka to replace USS George Washington, the former forward-deployed U.S. supercarrier in Japan.
USS Ronald Reagan was commissioned in 2003 and the second newest of the Nimitz-class supercarriers and the ninth ship commissioned in the class of 100,000-ton carriers.
It played a significant role in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief after Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami.