USS Ronald Reagan is a Nimitz-class nuclear powered supercarrier in the US Navy.
Named in honour of the former US President Ronald Reagan, who held the office between 1981 and 1989, she is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group Five after replacing the USS George Washington in 2014.
It is the Navy’s only forward deployed aircraft carrier.
The USS Ronal Reagan’s current home port is at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan as part of the United States Seventh Fleet.
Launched on 4 March 2001, the 1,092ft long carrier capable of travelling at over 30 knots, was commissioned on 12 July 2003.
Commissioning Ceremony for the USS Ronald Reagan
Its motto is Peace Through Strength.
It has a ships company of 3,200 and an air wing of 2,480.
The vessel’s armour is classified but it has a SLQ-32A(V)4 Countermeasures suite and SLQ-25A Nixie torpedo countermeasures.
It is armed with evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles which can counter supersonic anti-ship missiles, the lightweight, infrared homing surface-to-air Rolling Air Frame Missile and a Close-in weapons system (CIWS).
The CIWS, often pronounced “sea-whiz”, is a multiple barrel weapon system for detecting and destroying short-range incoming missiles and enemy aircraft which have managed to penetrate the outer defences.
In 2006, the USS Ronald Reagan left San Diego on her maiden deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
It left its base in Yokosuka on 4 June and is currently patrolling the South China Sea under the command of Michael “Buzz” Donnelly.
A man-made island in the South China Sea
There have been rising tensions in the area surrounding China’s expansion into the sea.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including reefs and islands that are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
It's recently been reported that the Chinese military is preparing to send submarines armed with nuclear missiles into the Pacific Ocean for the first time and has also been accused of deploying missiles into the area.
The Pentagon says China has reclaimed more than 3,200 acres of land from the sea and is developing military installations, including missiles, on the man-made islands.
The United States has accused Beijing of militarising the area, which is an important trade shipping route, and has stepped up patrols of the sea which they call “freedom of navigation” operations.
USS Ronald Reagan
Class and type:Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, Ronald Reagan subclass
Launched: 4 March 2001
Commissioned: 12 July 2003
Motto: Peace Through Strength
Displacement:101,400 long tons (113,600 short tons)
Length: 1,092 feet (332.8 m)
Propulsion: 2 × Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors, 4 × steam turbines, 4 × shafts, 260,000 shp (194 MW)
Armament: Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, Rolling Airframe Missile, Close-in weapons system (CIWS)
Aircraft carried:90 fixed wing and helicopters