Mission Accomplished — RAAF claims victory at RIMPAC

The Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force con­tri­bu­tion to the Rim of the Pacif­ic Exer­cise (RIMPAC 10) has been hailed as an over­whelm­ing suc­cess, with both AP-3C Ori­on crews earn­ing high praise from their Aus­tralian com­man­der.

11 Squadron (RAAF Edin­burgh) deployed two Ori­ons and 93 per­son­nel to RIMPAC which is the largest mar­itime mil­i­tary exer­cise of its kind in the world. Based at Kaneo­he Bay on the Hawai­ian island of Oahu, they were among 1200 ADF per­son­nel from RAAF, Navy and the Army par­tic­i­pat­ing in RIMPAC. Com­man­der, Aus­tralia Nation­al Com­mand Ele­ment, CDRE Stu­art May­er said 11 Squadron’s role was crit­i­cal to the over­all suc­cess of RIMPAC.

“The high­light for the RAAF was fir­ing of a Har­poon mis­sile,” CDRE May­er said. Plan­ning for this evo­lu­tion was intense and the result was over­whelm­ing­ly pos­i­tive for all involved. 11 Squadron spent long peri­ods prepar­ing with exer­cise plan­ners and the Navy’s Anzac Class Frigate HMAS War­ra­munga which was also involved in the MISSILEX. That coop­er­a­tion con­tin­ued right up until the mis­sile hit its tar­get.

Accord­ing to CO 11 Squadron, WGCDR Phillip Cham­pi­on, the exe­cu­tion was flaw­less. “It came off the wing, skid­ded along the sur­face and popped up to hit the tar­get, which was the for­mer US Amphibi­ous car­ri­er New Orleans. It was a great event for us from a coor­di­na­tion point of view with War­ra­munga and from a high end war­fare fight­ing per­spec­tive,” WGCDR Cham­pi­on said. “We got the chance to prac­tise our crew and height­en aware­ness by car­ry­ing a live weapon as well.”

CDRE May­er said coop­er­a­tion by the RAAF and Navy was crit­i­cal to the out­come. “The theme of RIMPAC 10 is Com­bined Agili­ty, Syn­er­gy and Sup­port. That’s def­i­nite­ly what we saw dur­ing the Har­poon evo­lu­tion, from our own forces as well as with our allies here for this exer­cise.”

The AP-3C Ori­on mis­sions dur­ing RIMPAC 10 also includ­ed Under­sea War­fare (USW), Sur­face War­fare (SUW) and Mar­itime Intel­li­gence, Sur­veil­lance and Recon­nais­sance (MISR). Both air­craft held up incred­i­bly well. Dur­ing the Sched­ule of Events phase the crews com­plet­ed 11 out of 12 flights. They also man­aged to notch up about 90 per­cent of their Anti Sub­ma­rine war­fare con­tact time. WGCDR Cham­pi­on said the entire team could be very proud of their efforts. “Our work was inte­grat­ed into a com­bined air, sur­face and sub-sur­face envi­ron­ment and every­one con­tributes to that end game. For any weapon to impact the tar­get, on time, there’s a lot of mov­ing parts.”

Over­all, WGCDR Cham­pi­on said RIMPAC 10 had pro­vid­ed his crews with vital one-on-one time with the Aus­tralian Navy. “We’re cur­rent­ly doing a lot of task­ing in the Mid­dle East but that’s all over land. We are also involved in Oper­a­tion Res­olute to our north. But RIMPAC has pro­vid­ed us with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to prac­tice high end war fight­ing skills in anti sub­ma­rine war­fare and anti sur­face unit war­fare. It’s great to be work­ing with the Navy again. We had to come all the way to Hawaii to do it! “ WGCDR Cham­pi­on also acknowl­edged the oppor­tu­ni­ty to oper­ate along­side Australia’s allies, 13 of whom are attend­ing RIMPAC this year.

“We had some Kore­ans ride with us the oth­er day and we’ve had some Aus­tralians ride with the US Navy, as well the Cana­di­ans. We’ve had some great oppor­tu­ni­ties to see how oth­er peo­ple do busi­ness and pick up some good ideas here and there along the way,” he said.

“That to me is what RIMPAC is all about.”

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

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