The United States will deploy its newest and high-tech military hardware including submarines and warships to its military bases in the Asia-Pacific region, a US military official says.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday that the deployment will be part of a new US military strategy to increase its presence in the volatile region.
“What you’re seeing is part of a bigger effort, the Pacific theatre will get the newest weapons systems first,” he said.
P-8 submarine-hunting aircraft, cruise missiles, Virginia-class submarines, coastal combat ships and F-35 fighter jets are among the high-tech military equipment prepared to be sent to Asia-Pacific region in coming years, according to the official.
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also said the US plans to deploy the stealth F-35 fighter jets to the Iwakuni air station in Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture by 2017.
In June, the US announced plans to move the majority of its Navy warships to the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.
Speaking at an annual security conference in Singapore on June 2, Panetta said the Pentagon will deploy six more aircraft carriers and a majority of its cruisers, destroyers, submarines and littoral combat ships to the region by 2020.
The US Defense Department will also deploy more sophisticated submarines and fighter aircraft, together with new electronic warfare capabilities and communications systems to the region.
While insisting it will take years to finish the transition, Panetta declared that Washington’s budget problems and cutbacks will not hinder the new military strategy.
The US move is expected to increase tensions with China, as the shift in the US focus in the region is regarded by several critics as Washington’s attempt to contain China’s emergence as an international power.
Beijing has already expressed its dismay at any larger US presence in the Asia-Pacific region. In January, China’s state media warned Washington against “flexing its muscles,” saying that any US militarism would “endanger peace.”