Australian Navy Forces Lead Maritime Component of RIMPAC 2012

Australian Navy Forces Lead Maritime Component of RIMPAC 2012

Australian sailors, soldiers, airmen and women have joined defence forces from 21 other nations, including France, Canada and Russia, for Exercise RIM-OF-THE-PACIFIC (RIMPAC 12) in the islands of Hawaii.

Approximately 1100 Australian Defence personnel are among 25,000 personnel participating in the US-sponsored exercise.

For the first time in the history of RIMPAC, Australia will lead the maritime component. The Commander of the 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.”

Two Royal Australian Navy (RAN) war ships HMAS Darwin and HMAS Perth, and the submarine HMAS Farncomb will be conducting a range of exercises and live firing, while the Australian Clearance Diving Team will be working with other nations conducting explosive ordnance disposal and mine countermeasure activities.

Also participating in the exercise are two AP-3C Orions, a S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter and the E7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control supported by Air Force personnel from Number 2 Squadron

Additionally 150 Army personnel from the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) with engineer, artillery and support elements are working with US Navy and US marine elements in the Hawaii operating area.

RIMPAC 12 is the world’s largest multilateral live-fire maritime training exercise held around the islands of Hawaii.

The exercise aims to enhance the interoperability of the combined forces and involves war-fighting exercises, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief and maritime security operations.

RIMPAC 2012 – the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971 – will conclude on 3 August.

Naval Today Staff, July 6, 2012; Image: Australian MoD