One of the USA's largest annual exercises in the Western Pacific, which this year involved around 30 ships, 280 aircraft, and 22,000 personnel has just concluded off the US territory of Guam.

Aircraft involved flew over 2,000 sorties in Excercise Valiant Shield (formerly known as JASEX) 2006 from three aircraft carrier groups and from Andersen US Air Force Base on Guam. The aircraft involved in the operation, designed to mimic interoperability in war zones, consisted of Boeing F-15s, Lockheed Martin F-16s, Boeing F-18 Hornets, and a Northrop Grumman B-2 stealth bomber. Japanese self defence forces also contributed Lockheed P-3 Orions.

 Valiant Shield 01
US Navy photos by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Jordon Beesley

 Valiant Shield 02
 Valiant Shield 03
 Valiant Shield 05
 Valiant Shield 06

In pictures obtained by (above) a B-2 assigned to Whiteman AFB leads an aerial flight formation. The Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group is currently participating in Valiant Shield along with the Ronald Reagan carrier strike group and the Kitty Hawk carrier strike group.

"We're very excited about Valiant Shield because it's an opportunity to interface large numbers of our air and sea forces together in a very unique environment and to work out some of what we call frictions," said Lt Gen David Deptula, Kenney headquarters commander for the Pacific region at Hickam AFB on Hawaii.

Source: Flight International