The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is playing a key role in the world’s largest maritime exercise taking place in and around the islands of Hawaii.
Hosted by the United States Pacific Fleet, Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2014 (RIMPAC 14) will see 23 nations, 48 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel – with approximately 970 ADF members from all three Services – taking part.
The Australian Contingent Commander, Rear Admiral Simon Cullen, said RIMPAC provides the ADF with the chance to operate alongside regional neighbours.
“As economic and strategic weight shifts to the Asia-Pacific, it will be increasingly important for Pacific Rim nations to work together to continue to promote security and prosperity,” RADM Cullen said.
“The exercise is a unique opportunity to build interoperability and cultivate ties with the armed forces of Pacific Rim countries. It reflects the closeness of our alliance with the United States and the strength of our military relationships with other regional defence partners.”
The theme for RIMPAC 14 is ‘capable, adaptive, partners’.
“It sums up Australia’s goals well, but the key word for us will be ‘adaptive’. As we prepare our own forces for an amphibious future, these sorts of activities are vital. We need to be ready to respond to any type of threat and operate together in a range of challenging situations,” he said.
This year’s RIMPAC will see an increased Australian focus on air operations with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) leading the aviation component for the first time. RAAF Air Commodore Chris Westwood will assume command of the Combined Air Component of RIMPAC 14.
“The RAAF has a number of personnel filling key positions during RIMPAC 14. We will have members in the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) and Number 41 Wing personnel will work within the Hawaii Regional Air Operations Centre and have tactical control over all participating aircraft. In addition our AP-3C Orion crews will be practising surface warfare and will track down a range of threats both on and under the sea including in the hunt for submarines,” Air Commodore Westwood said.
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States will aspire to the RIMPAC 2014.
The People’s Republic of China, Brunei, and two hospital ships, United States Naval Ship Mercy and People’s Liberation Army Navy Peace Ark will also participate in the exercise for the first time.
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