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Navy aircraft to aid U.S. refocus on Asia

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The U.S. Navy plans to deploy a wide range of new aircraft to the Asia-Pacific region in the coming years to support the Obama administration’s renewed emphasis on maintaining stability there, according to a top service official.

“Seapower is going to underwrite the Asia-Pacific rebalance,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said in a May 19 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

New aircraft that have been or will be sent to the region include the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol jet, the EA-18G Growler electronic-attack aircraft, the stealthy F-35C Joint Strike Fighter and the MQ-4C Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft, Greenert said. The P-8A’s first deployment involved searching for the Malaysian airliner that went missing in March.

The Navy also plans to increase the average number of its ships in the region from 51 now to 67 by 2020, and equip ships with new technologies, including laser weapons and an electric-powered “railgun,” Greenert said.

According to a White House "fact sheet,", the administration is increasing America's activity and resources in the Asia-Pacific region because "the United States is a historic Pacific power whose economy, strength and interests are inextricably linked with Asia’s economic, security and political order."

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