Wargames in the Pacific
Just over 4,000 miles off the coast of California, crystal blue waters part in a wave of foam as a warship cuts a path toward a group of Pacific islands. Ships bearing the flags of Australia, Japan and many others join the U.S. in Pearl Harbor for RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) 2016.
RIMPAC is the largest international maritime exercise and takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
This year will see 26 nations come together with a combined 45 ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel to participate in the biennial exercise.
The exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People's Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States. Making their first appearance at RIMPAC are Brazil, Denmark, Germany, and Italy.
This year's RIMPAC theme is "Capable, Adaptive, Partners." The participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter piracy, mine-clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage operations.
Nearly 70 percent of the world is water and 80 percent of the world's population lives on or near a coast. Lastly 90 percent of international commerce moves by sea. RIMPAC helps participating nations improve maritime partners' capability to ensure stability and prosperity of their coasts and seaways.
RIMPAC provides unique training opportunities that help participating nations foster and sustain cooperative relationships critical to ensuring the security and safety of sea lanes on the world's oceans.
Additional firsts will involve flexing the command and control structure for various at sea events and incorporating a submarine rescue exercise. This year will see amphibious operations in the Southern California operating area, feature a harpoon missile shoot from a U.S. Navy littoral combat ship and highlight fleet innovation during the Trident Warrior experimentation series.
The exercise is scheduled to kick off June 30 and run until Aug. 4.