U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk docked at Singapore's new deep-draft naval pier on Thursday, the first giant American warship to use the facility. The pier, at Singapore's Changi Naval Base, is one of only two in the region large enough to berth a carrier. The other is at Port Klang in Malaysia. The pier will help speed up re-supply of large warships and improve mission turnarounds, said Rear-Admiral Mark J. Edwards, who heads the Logistics Group, Western Pacific. "This is very important as our deployment schedules are ever-changing," Edwards said. Singapore, at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, was also a strategic location for the U.S. Navy, he said.
Admiral Vern Clark, chief of U.S. naval operations, will join his Singaporean counterpart, Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Lui Tuck Yew, in commemorating the port visit on Friday at the naval base, where the 86,000-ton Kitty Hawk towers over the surrounding area.
The ship is the first in a class of three super carriers, has a crew of 5,000, has a flight deck area of 4.1 acres (1.7 hectares) and can carry more than 75 aircraft. A U.S. Navy spokeswoman said the carrier was enroute from Yokosuka, Japan, and would remain in Singapore till early next week before
leaving for Thailand.
Singapore, a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), has no military alliance or treaty with the United States. But the two countries have close ties and Washington has supplied arms to Singapore, ranging from attack helicopters to "AMRAAM" advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles. - (Reuters)