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26 nations participating in upcoming RIMPAC war games

William Cole

The Navy said today that 26 nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in this summer’s big Rim of the Pacific exercises scheduled June 27 to Aug. 2 mainly in in Hawaii but also in Southern California.

The world’s largest international maritime exercise comes with the Pentagon announcement last week that it was disinviting China from participation.

In January, amid ongoing spats between China and the United States in the South China Sea, Beijing said it was involved in planning and was discussing “details with the U.S. side for the arrangement of China’s participation” in the exercise.

RIMPAC is held every other year. In 2016, China sent to Hawaii the missile destroyer Xi’an, missile frigate Hengshui, supply ship Gaoyouhu, submarine rescue vessel Changdao and hospital ship Peace Ark and participated in at-sea drills including gunfire, damage control and rescue, anti-piracy, search and rescue and diving and submarine rescue.

The exercise “provides a unique training opportunity designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s interconnected oceans,” the Navy said in a release. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Participating nations “will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces,” including practicing disaster relief and maritime security operations and complex warfighting.

Amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, counter-piracy operations, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage operations are planned.

This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brazil, 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.

The Navy said Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating in RIMPAC for the first time.

An emphasis on missile improvements will be a hallmark of RIMPAC with the firing of a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile from an Air Force aircraft. A surface-to-ship missile will be fired by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, and the U.S. Army will target a ship with a Naval Strike Missile launched from a truck.

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