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US carrier stages Yellow Sea air power demo in response to North Korean missile launches

F-35C takes off from USS Abraham Lincoln
An F-35C Lightning II, assigned to the "Black Knights" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) to conduct a joint long-range air demonstration in the Yellow Sea, March 15. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy has sent Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to the Yellow Sea to conduct an air power demonstration in response to continued North Korean missile launches.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has significantly increased the pace and scale of ballistic missile launches since September 2021, including the two intercontinental ballistic missile tests on February 27 and March 5.

US Indo-Pacific Command condemned these actions, adding that the carrier-based air demonstration in the Yellow Sea was a demonstration of the US resolve and commitment to its regional allies.

This demonstration was carried out in international airspace by 4th and 5th generation aircraft from the USS Abraham Lincoln, along with regionally-based US Air Force aircraft. he operation is in addition to previously announced increases in ISR collection in the Yellow Sea and enhanced regional ballistic missile defense posture on the Korean peninsula.

A US Air Force RC-135S Cobra Ball spy aircraft flew a sortie around the Korean Peninsula on March 15 as US and South Korea gathered evidence of a possible long-range rocket test by North Korea. A day before, an RC-135V Rivet Joint reconnaissance plane performed a similar sortie to monitor North Korean missile sites.

“The ICBM launches by DPRK are a brazen violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions—as well as its international commitments—and pose a threat to regional neighbors and the international community,” the INDOPACOM statement read.

“We have made clear our growing concern over the significant increase in DPRK’s missile testing, and we will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the United States and our allies.”

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and ships from its carrier strike group are operating in the region after getting underway from San Diego in January this year. The aircraft carrier is deployed with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, the first US Marine Corps squadron to fly F-35C embarked aboard a carrier.