Australia continues Indo-Pacific deployment after RIMPAC participation

Australian Navy ships and personnel are continuing their Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018 (IPE18) deployment after concluding exercise Rim of the Pacific off Hawaii in early August.

HMAS Adelaide departs Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, after participating in exercise RIMPAC. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Adelaide and frigate HMAS Toowoomba – along with a platoon of Australian soldiers from 2RAR (2nd Battalion Royal Australia Regiment) – and US Marines are on their way to the Solomon Islands’ capital, Honiara. Replenishment ship HMAS Success will visit Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.

The commanding officers of the ships and embarked forces, along with IPE Task Group Commander, Captain Jim Hutton, met prior to departing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for a final briefing before setting sail.

Captain Hutton said he was focussed on strengthening Australia’s security partnerships with the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

“These visits allow a valuable opportunity for us to work and engage with some of our closest neighbors; to learn from each other and to foster greater understanding and interoperability between our defense forces and security personnel,” he said.

“We will be conducting a range of training activities designed to build capacity.”

The ship’s companies and embarked forces onboard our ships are continuing to prepare for the upcoming Southwest Pacific visits with a series of exercises scheduled during the passage from Hawaii, beginning with flight operations involving US Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey aircraft shortly after departing Pearl Harbor.

Adelaide, Toowoomba and Success will arrive in Honiara and Rabaul respectively in mid-August.

The three ships have recently spent five weeks taking part in RIMPAC, the world’s largest international maritime exercise hosted by the US Pacific Fleet.

HMAS Adelaide’s Commanding Officer, Captain Jonathan Earley, said RIMPAC had once again proven to be a valuable experience for all ADF participants at sea, ashore and in the air.

“Australia is one of the three founding nations of this biennial exercise and we have participated in every iteration since its inception in 1971,” he said.

“It provides a unique opportunity for us to hone our skills while demonstrating our capability and versatility across a variety of maritime tasks alongside partner nations.

“For RIMPAC 18, Australia was well represented and clearly demonstrated its ability and capacity as a strong, professional and effective maritime force,” he said.