While many people associate Pearl Harbor with the surprise Japanese attack that occurred over 76 years ago, they sometimes forget that it is still an active military base, playing a vital role in the defense of the nation today. The very active military base is home to the US Pacific Fleet, which makes it the ideal location for RIMPAC 2018, or Rim of the Pacific Exercises.
Just as it’s done since the United States established a naval base at Pearl Harbor, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet undergoes occasional exercises to ensure personnel are well-trained and -equipped in the event the United States goes to war. On June 27th, 2018, 52 vessels from 26 countries, and over 25,000 personnel, gather to take part in the world’s largest maritime exercise, hosted by the United States Pacific Fleet and mostly taking place in and around the Hawaiian Islands.
Forty-seven years ago, the US Navy hosted the very first RIMPAC, which involved navies from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Since that first exercise, the United States, Canada, and Australia have continued to participate in RIMPAC. 2018 marks the twenty-sixth edition of the joint exercise.
RIMPAC 2018 Exercises
RIMPAC 2018 is made up of different activities, beginning with a harbor phase during which participants receive briefings and participate in sporting competitions. Later, they take to the sea for force integration exercises. RIMPAC 2018 includes training in amphibious operations, anti-piracy tactics, mine clearance, maritime security, missile shots, air defense operations, and anti-submarine warfare. Included in the schedule of events are launches of a long-range anti-ship missile, a surface-to-ship missile, and a missile fired from a US Army launcher on a palletized load system, marking the first time the exercise has seen a land-based unit participating in the live-fire event.
Bringing The World’s Navies Together
RIMPAC 2018 brings together naval forces from nations around the globe, including many that are far from the Pacific Rim. Along with Australia and Canada, the United States is joined by Brazil, Brunei, 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, and Vietnam. China was initially scheduled to take part in the exercises, but has since been removed due to its militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea. As the host of the event, the United States Pacific Fleet will use more than 20 of its active warships, including USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), USS Halsey (DDG-97), USS O’Kane (DDG-77), USS Lake Erie (CG-70), and USS Sterett (DDG-104).
The exercise is scheduled to run until August 2nd, 2018