JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM – The world’s largest international maritime exercise concluded Aug. 4 following more than a month of realistic, relevant combined operations training conducted in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
Twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, three submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, approximately 170 aircraft and over 25,000 personnel participated in the 28th edition of the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).
RIMPAC 2022 Combined Task Force Commander, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Michael Boyle expressed that returning to a full-scale exercise, with multiple exercise firsts, has been a success across all domains.
“By coming together as Capable, Adaptive Partners, and in the scale that we are, we are making a statement about our commitment to work together, to foster and sustain those relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and the security of the world's interconnected oceans,” Vice Adm. Boyle said.
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Admiral Toshiyuki Hirata filled the role of Vice Commander, and commanded the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) portion of the exercise that operated with local hospital personnel. This year's RIMPAC included two Maritime Self-Defense Force escort ships and the Ground Self-Defense Force's Western Army.
Rear Adm. Hirata said that in the current security environment, it is important for the international community to work together. “It is of great significance to deepen and strengthen the relationship of trust.”
For the first time, Republic of Korea Rear Adm. Sangmin An served as the Commander of the exercise’s combined amphibious task force, with the Republic of Singapore Navy Col. Kwan Hon Chuong serving as the amphibious force’s Sea Combat Commander, and Royal Australian Navy Capt. Michael Osborn serving as the Sea Logistics Commander.
RIMPAC’s Deputy Commander, Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Christopher Robinson, said the collaboration and cohesiveness between partner nations enhanced their operations.
"This exercise provides tremendous training value, enabling partners to build skills and refine procedures through working together. Part of this comes from seeing how other partners approach similar scenarios, offering new perspectives”, Robinson said. “The value of this collaboration goes further, in that it also enables us to build and foster those relationships and networks that are so incredibly valuable as we operate together in future operations throughout the region.”
A few of the first-time achievements included:
- Two U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft embarked in Australian amphibious ship HMAS Canberra for the whole duration of the exercise.
- While participating in RIMPAC for the first time, HMNZS Aotearoa conducted numerous Replenishment at Sea operations with partner nations including France, Australia, Canada, Malaysia and the U.S.
- Royal Malaysian Ship KD Leskir (F26) conducted their first live missile firing outside Malaysian waters.
- First embedded use of the MQ-9A and MQ-9B unmanned aerial vehicles, and the unmanned surface vessels Nomad, Ranger, Sea Hawk and Sea Hunter; with data and knowledge sharing amongst 13 countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Peru, India, France, Chile, Mexico, Singapore and Indonesia.
- Nine nations participated in the RIMPAC Amphibious Assault (Australia, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Tonga and U.S.).
This year’s exercise included units and personnel from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.