The largest maritime warfare exercise in the world, RIMPAC 2018, officially opened on June 28 in Pearl Harbor. The opening ceremony was led by US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral John C. Aquilino and US 3rd Fleet Commander Vice Admiral John D. Alexander.
RIMPAC 2018, with theme “Capable, Adaptive, Partners”, will run through August 12. A total of 25 nations, more than 45 surface ships and submarines, 17 national land forces, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating.
“RIMPAC is not only the world’s largest international maritime exercise, it also shows that like-minded nations who value a free and open Indo-Pacific want this opportunity to improve our cooperation with each other,” said Admiral Aquilino.
“There are different uniforms, different faces, and different cultures, but we share a common purpose here at RIMPAC,” Aquilino said.
Vice Admiral Alexander said all the participating maritime nations “all prosper through trade and the majority of the trade goes through the Indo-Pacific region.”
Participating nations are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.
Vice Admiral Alexander is serving as Combined Task Force (CTF) commander. Royal Canadian Navy Rear Admiral Bob Auchterlonie is serving as CTF deputy commander, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Admiral Hideyuki Oban is serving as CTF vice commander.
US Marine Corps Brigadier General Mark Hashimoto is leading the Fleet Marine Force. Other key leaders of the multinational force include Commodore Pablo Niemann of Armada de Chile, commanding the maritime component, and Air Commodore Craig Heap of the Royal Australian Air Force, commanding the air component.
According to US Navy 3rd Fleet, the exercise will feature live firing of a long range anti-ship missile (LRASM) from a US Air Force aircraft, surface to ship missiles fired by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, and a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) fired from a launcher on the back of a Palletized Load System (PLS) by the US Army.
“This year marks the first time a land-based unit will participate in the RIMPAC live-fire event. RIMPAC 2018 will also include international band engagements and highlight fleet innovation during an Innovation Fair,” US Navy 3rd Fleet said.