RIMPAC 2016: Australia sends 3 ships, 1,650 personnel to Hawaii

More than 1,650 Australian Defence Force personnel have arrived in the United States ahead of a month of focused military training activities with 26 nations from across the globe for Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016.

Australia has deployed three ships and diving personnel including HMA Ships Canberra, Ballarat and Warramunga, an amphibious landing force from the 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment and three Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion aircraft.

About 45 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and over 25,000 personnel will participate in the US-led exercise in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California from 30 June to 4 August.

Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said the biennial exercise provided valuable training opportunities to validate Australian Defence Force capabilities and enhance interoperability with international partners.

“RIMPAC is the world’s largest maritime exercise and strengthens international maritime partnerships, enhances interoperability and improves the readiness of participating forces for a wide range of potential operations,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.

Participating personnel and assets will conduct gunnery, missile, anti-submarine, and air-defence exercises, as well as maritime interdiction and vessel boardings, explosive ordnance disposal, diving and salvage operations, mine clearance operations and an amphibious landing.

Canberra has embarked the Amphibious Ready Element drawn from Townsville’s 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment and will exercise with US and other international partners for amphibious activities in Hawaii.

Anzac class frigates Ballarat and Warramunga will be evaluating their capabilities in training and live-fire exercises including missile firings, while personnel from Clearance Diving Teams One and Four, and the Mine Clearance Diving Task Group will conduct activities in southern California near San Diego.

Air Force will deploy three AP-3C Orion aircraft to contribute to high-end warfighting capabilities alongside Navy and the US Navy in realistic maritime scenarios aimed at enhancing interoperability.