As part of the RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) exercises, Australia and New Zealand will send two of their largest ships this year to this multinational exercise, the largest maritime exercise in the world, which will be held from June 29 to August 4 near the Hawaiian Islands and southern California. The move comes as China advances in the Pacific Ocean.
HMAS Canberra heading for the Pacific
Australia’s first warship HMAS Canberra has left Eastern Fleet Base to begin a four-month deployment which will see it first take part in RIMPAC exercises and then other exercises. At RIMPAC, HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Supply, and potentially a Collins-class submarine, will join HMAS Canberra.
The Australian force for the exercise will also have naval clearance divers and army personnel aboard the Canberra. The group will also be supported by two Australian P-8A Poseidon aircraft. A platoon from Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, Tonga Army, will also be deployed on HMAS Canberra.
Separately, two other Australian warships – HMAS Sydney and HMAS Perth – are scheduled to take part in a multilateral exercise with the United States, Japan and South Korea. The 3rd Fleet-led Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) exercise, “Pacific Dragon”, will see Australia participate with its warships for the first time.
The exercise will give Australia the opportunity to test its ability to deploy the new SM-6 missiles. The SM-6 missiles will provide terminal BMD capability to Australia’s Hobart-class air warfare destroyers.
New Zealand’s newest warship to compete in RIMPAC
New Zealand will also deploy its state-of-the-art warship HMNZS Aotearoa for RIMPAC and other exercises. HMNZS Aotearoa leaves its home base, Naval Station Devonport, on June 13. It is ready for a large deployment in Asia-Pacific.
Navy divers and members of the 16th Field Regiment will be based on HMNZS Aotearoa during RIMPAC and other exercises. One hundred and eighty-five members of the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) will take part in the RIMPAC exercise.
HMNZS Aotearoa will also participate in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) International Fleet Review. The Republic of India has also decided to participate in the largest maritime exercise in the world, “Rim of the Pacific” or RIMPAC.
The Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga and the United Kingdom and the United States will be the other participants in RIMPAC.
RIMPAC, the Rim of the Pacific exercise, is held every two years in June and July. The exercise began in 1971.