Sri Lanka in RIMPAC for the first time | Daily News
World’s largest international maritime exercise

Sri Lanka in RIMPAC for the first time

A RIMPAC exercise.
A RIMPAC exercise.

Twenty six nations including Sri Lanka will take part in the world’s largest international maritime exercise, the RIMPAC to be held from June 27 to August 2 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.

This is the first time Sri Lanka is participating in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise.

Twenty-six nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines, 18 national land forces, and over 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the RIMPAC exercise.

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

The theme of the RIMPAC 2018 is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.” Participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The training programme includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine, air defense exercises, counter-piracy operations, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage operations.

The 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.

This is the first time Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating in the RIMPAC. Additional firsts include New Zealand serving as Sea Combat Commander and Chile serving as Combined Force Maritime Component Commander. This is the first time a non-founding RIMPAC nation (Chile) will hold a component commander leadership position.

This year will also feature live firing of a Long Range AntiShip Missile (LRASM) from a US Air Force aircraft, surface to ship missiles by the Japan Ground Self-defence Force, and a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from a launcher on the back of a Palletized Load System (PLS) by the US Army. This marks the first time a land based unit will participate in the live fire event during the RIMPAC. The RIMPAC 18 will also include international band engagements and highlight fleet innovation during an Innovation Fair.

US 3rd Fleet’s Command Center will relocate from San Diego to Pearl Harbor to support command and control of all 3rd Fleet forces in 3rd Fleet’s area of responsibility to include forces operating forward in the Western Pacific for the first time since the RIMPAC 2002. The Fleet Command Center will be established at a Deployable Joint Command and Control on Hospital Point for the first part of the exercise and then transition to USS Portland (LPD 27) for the remainder of the exercise.

Hosted by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, the RIMPAC 2018 will be led by Commander, US 3rd Fleet, Vice Adm. John D. Alexander, who will serve as Combined Task Force (CTF) Commander. Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Bob Auchterlonie will serve as CTF Deputy Commander, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Adm. Hideyuki Oban as CTF vice commander. Fleet Marine Force will be led by U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Mark Hashimoto. Other key leaders of the multinational force will include Commodore Pablo Niemann of Armada de Chile, who will command the maritime component, and Air Commodore Craig Heap of the Royal Australian Air Force will command the air component. 

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