The United States Seventh Fleet
Who we are:
Seventh Fleet is the largest of the U.S. Navy's forward deployed fleets.
At any given time there are roughly 50-70 ships and submarines, 150 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 Sailors in Seventh Fleet.
Commanded by a 3-star Navy Flag officer, Vice Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer, since August 23, 2017.
Where we operate:
Seventh Fleet’s area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border;and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South.
Seventh Fleet’s area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50% of the world’s population, including:
o The five largest foreign militaries: China, Russia, India, North Korea, and the Republic of Korea
o Five U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty Allies: the Philippines, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Thailand
What we do:
For more than 75 years Seventh Fleet has maintained a continuous forward presence in the Indo Pacific, providing security and stability to the region.
In 2018, U.S. 7th Fleet ships, squadrons, operational units and senior leaders promoted regional stability and maritime security through more than 1,000 theater security cooperation engagements.
Engagements included major operational events, such as 160 bilateral and multilateral exercises, as well as 370 port visits and more than 500 senior leader exchanges, construction projects, military to military training and education seminars and community relations events. Building partnerships and familiarity helps avoid misunderstandings and prevents unnecessary military escalation.
Aircraft Carrier Operations – long range strike capability:
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) is currently the Navy’s forward deployed aircraft carrier in Seventh Fleet. Whereas other carriers are homeported in the U.S. and deploy periodically, USS Ronald Reagan is permanently forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan and spends about half of each year at sea.
USS Ronald Reagan, when combined with guided missile destroyers and cruisers, creates a carrier strike group of up to 12 ships and 75 aircraft. These forces have a higher operational tempo than other Navy vessels, and being forward deployed cuts an average of 17 days transit time to the region compared to forces based in the continental U.S. The Navy may assign another aircraft carrier to Seventh Fleet for temporary operations, adding 70 more aircraft and numerous ships to our long range strike capability.
Surface Combatant Operations:
Seventh Fleet controls 10-14 destroyers and cruisers at any given time, with 11 based in Yokosuka and 25 periodically assigned to the region from Hawaii or San Diego. These surface ships carry Theater Ballistic Missile interceptors, long range Tomahawk land attack missiles and antiaircraft missiles.
Should tensions escalate into armed conflict, our advanced submarines would provide our greatest advantage against an enemy. At any given time there are 8-12 submarines in Seventh Fleet. All U.S. subs are nuclear powered.
Seventh Fleet has 16-20 reconnaissance aircraft, the newest being a militarized version of the Boeing 737 called the P8, which arrived in Dec 2013. These aircraft provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance of the entire region. They also carry sonobuoys and torpedoes for antisubmarine warfare.
Amphibious and Mine Countermeasure ships:
Seventh Fleet has four amphibious ships, the largest of which is the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). Nearly the size of an aircraft carrier, Wasp is capable of carrying dozens of helicopters, MV22 Ospreys and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft along with more than 1,700 Marines and their equipment. Amphibious ships are specifically designed to operate relatively close to shore using landing craft to support of amphibious operations ashore. This design also makes them well suited to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
In addition to the amphibious ships, Seventh Fleet also controls four mine countermeasure ships designed to locate and neutralize mines. Both these and the amphibious ships are based in Sasebo, Japan.
Forward deployed SEAL teams and special boat units are based in Guam. They often provide support to Presidential visits.
Naval Expeditionary Forces within Seventh Fleet are comprised of Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Coastal Riverine, Embarked Security, and Construction forces. These forces execute a wide range of missions in the littorals and on land, partnering with multiple nations throughout the Seventh Fleet. One of its missions is Humanitarian Assistance/ Disaster Relief and command and control of forces in response to HA/DR missions that leverage our uniquely inherent Navy Expeditionary capabilities to render assistance throughout the 7th fleet.
Seventh Fleet is self sufficient, with about 50 combat logistics ships commanded from Singapore. They are government owned or contracted ships with partial civilian crews and Navy presence. These ships supply Seventh Fleet units throughout the region for continuous, sustained operations at sea.