US Navy to shift 60 percent fleet to Pacific
London: The US Navy will send its most sophisticated ships and aircraft to the Asia-Pacific region as it builds up its presence there, it was reported on Wednesday.
Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, was quoted by Daily Mail as having said that under a policy recently outlined by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, 60 percent of the Navy`s fleet will be deployed to the Pacific by 2020.
The admiral had Monday cited as an example the Littoral Combat Ship, which can operate in shallower waters than other vessels. The Navy plans to begin deploying one of the ships to Singapore next year, Daily Mail reported.
The EA-18G plane -- which can jam enemy air defences and fly faster than the speed of sound -- is another. Haney said squadrons of these aircraft would be coming through the region.
There is also the Navy`s most advanced submarine -- the Virginia-class. Several of these vessels are based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The policy offers further details to the Obama administration`s announcement earlier this year of a new defence strategy that places greater emphasis on a US military presence in the region in response to Asia`s growing economic importance and China`s rise as a military power, Daily Mail said.
The US Navy currently has about 285 ships about evenly divided among the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The total number of ships will decline in coming years as some vessels are retired without being replaced by new ones.
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