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Tue Apr 2, 2019, 09:02 PM

A US Navy warship was seen in the South China Sea carrying an unusually large number of F-35s

The US Navy amphibious assault ship USS Wasp was recently seen sailing through the South China Sea with an unusually heavy configuration of F-35s.

The Wasp deployed carrying at least 10 F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters, more than the usual load of six of these hard-hitting fifth-generation jet fighters, The National Interest first reported, noting that the warship may be testing the "light carrier" warfighting concept known as the "Lightning Carrier."

The amphibious assault ship is participating in Exercise Balikatan 2019, during which "US and Philippine forces will conduct amphibious operations, live-fire training, urban operations, aviation operations, and counterterrorism response," the US Navy said in a statement announcing the Wasp's arrival.

The annual exercise prepares troops for potential crises in the Indo-Pacific region. This year's drills are focused on maritime security, a growing concern as China strives to achieve dominance over strategic waterways.


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