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RIMPAC ships steam in formation off Hawaii

  • (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raul Moreno Jr./Released)
    The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ship JS Shirane (DDH 143) and the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57) sail in close formation during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Twenty-two nations
  • in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest international maritime exercise
  • 000 personnel are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3
  • more than 200 aircraft and 25
  • more than 40 ships and submarines
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Ships and submarines participating in the Rim of the Pacific naval exercises lined up for their class portrait Friday in sun-dappled waters off Hawaii.

The flotilla, led by the carrier USS Nimitz, included the Pearl Harbor-based cruisers USS Chosin, USS Lake Erie and USS Port Royal, destroyers USS Chafee, USS Chung-Hoon and USS Paul Hamilton, frigates USS Crommelin and USS Reuben James, submarines USS Charlotte, USS Cheyenne and USS North Carolina, and the salvage ship USS Salvor.

Meanwhile, days after sinking the decommissioned USNS Kilauea, the Australian navy’s HMAS Farncomb was sidelined last week due to a flooding incident.

According to the Australian Defense Force, the Collins-class submarine was cruising at periscope depth during an exercise on Wednesday when a water hose in the vessel’s weight compensation system split, resulting in minor flooding.

No one was hurt in the incident and the submarine was able to safely return to Pearl Harbor for repairs. The cause of the malfunction is under investigation.

The submarine was responsible for one of the most publicized and impressive RIMPAC demonstrations this month. On July 23, the Farncomb sank the 12-ton target ship with a MK-48 torpedo. 

The blast split the ship in two, causing it to sink within 40 minutes.

Collins submarines like the Farncomb were subjected to rigorous examination following a near disaster in 2003, in which a seawater cooling hose burst while the HMAS Dechaineux was deep under water.

The accident resulted in significant design upgrades to similar vessels, including the Farncomb.

Two years ago, the Farncomb was also forced to withdraw from exercises due to a generator failure.

Australia is one of 22 nations participating in this year’s RIMPAC exercises.

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