Australia plays lead role in Pacific Rim Nation Exercise in Hawaii

The world’s largest Mar­itime exer­cise has offi­cial­ly begun with ele­ments of the Aus­tralian Navy, Army and Air Force join­ing the mil­i­tary forces of 21 oth­er nations in Hawaii.

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Exer­cise Rim of the Pacif­ic (RIMPAC) 2012 has brought togeth­er 25 thou­sand sailors, sol­diers and air­men who will spend the next five weeks par­tic­i­pat­ing in a series of com­plex and real­is­tic war­like sce­nar­ios.

For the first time in the his­to­ry of RIMPAC, Aus­tralia will lead the mar­itime com­po­nent. The Com­man­der of the 1100 strong Aus­tralian con­tin­gent, Com­modore Stu­art May­er says it’s the first time the Unit­ed States has pro­vid­ed anoth­er coun­try with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to plan and exe­cute the mar­itime aspect of this exer­cise.

“The oppor­tu­ni­ty to com­mand the mar­itime force is a trib­ute to the trust in which the Aus­tralian Navy is held. It is also a great per­son­al chal­lenge,” Com­modore May­er said. “Aus­tralia is coor­di­nat­ing an extra­or­di­nary num­ber of assets includ­ing sev­en Com­bined Task Forces con­sist­ing of 40 sur­face ships and six sub­marines.”

The RAN frigates HMAS Dar­win and Perth will par­tic­i­pate in the exer­cise, which will give each ship a real oppor­tu­ni­ty to test their skills. The sub­ma­rine, HMAS Farn­comb, will con­duct a range of mis­sions with allied forces. Aus­tralian Navy Clear­ance Divers will be in action in Hawaii con­duct­ing a wide range of under­wa­ter activ­i­ties, includ­ing mine coun­ter­mea­sures. Aus­tralian Clear­ance Divers will also be com­mand­ing four oth­er nations dur­ing aspects of the RIMPAC exer­cise to be con­duct­ed on the US main­land in San Diego.

Two Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force AP-3C Ori­on air­craft and a RAAF Air­borne Ear­ly Warn­ing and Con­trol (AEW&C) Wed­getail air­craft are also tak­ing part in anti sub­ma­rine war­fare and sur­veil­lance evo­lu­tions.

On land, approx­i­mate­ly 150 Townsville-based Army mem­bers from the 1st Bat­tal­ion, The Roy­al Aus­tralian Reg­i­ment (1 RAR) will take part. A Spe­cial Pur­pose Marine Group Task Force from the ADF’s 3rd Brigade, will work with the US to fur­ther devel­op the ADFs amphibi­ous capa­bil­i­ty.

Com­modore May­er says RIMPAC pro­vides unique oppor­tu­ni­ties for all involved.

“The glob­al mar­itime envi­ron­ment is too large and too com­plex for any one nation to safe­guard,” Com­modore May­er said.

RIMPAC helps all of us fos­ter and sus­tain the coop­er­a­tive rela­tion­ships that are so crit­i­cal to safe­guard­ing sea lanes and secu­ri­ty on the world’s oceans.”

RIMPAC 12’s pri­ma­ry mis­sion is to enhance inter­op­er­abil­i­ty of the par­tic­i­pat­ing forces improv­ing indi­vid­ual war fight­ing com­pe­ten­cies, dis­as­ter relief and mar­itime secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions. This year’s theme is “Capa­ble, Adap­tive, Part­ners”.

The exer­cise will wind up on 3 August.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia