On December 21st, another Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer has been deployed to the U.S. fleet in Yokosuka, Japan, in accordance with a policy of forward deployment of newer and more advanced ships in the vicinity of the Taiwan Strait.
USS Shoup departed her homeport of San Diego and arrived at her new location on the 19th to join Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest surface combatant squadron, along with eight other destroyers to protect the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in Yokosuka. It can conduct air defence, anti-submarine and anti-surface operations and will conduct freedom of navigation operations in the Indo-Pacific region – passing through international waters to oppose the excessive maritime claims of certain nations, including through the Taiwan Strait.
The U.S. Seventh Fleet said in a news release that maintaining state-of-the-art ships, and forward-deployed naval forces in support, is part of the U.S. commitment to Japan’s defence and to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. Destroyers based at Yokosuka have traditionally focused on ballistic missile defence, primarily in light of the North Korean threat. That focus is rapidly shifting to countering Communist China’s advanced fighter jets and submarines.