Exercise RIMPAC

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Exercise RIMPAC 2014
Exercise RIMPAC Map 2014.svg
Map Legend
  •   Host Nation
  •   2014 Active
  •   2014 Observers
  •   Past Active
  •   Past Observers
HeadquartersPearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S
TypeMilitary exercises
22 Participants
(RIMPAC 2014)
  •  Australia
  •  Brunei
  •  Canada
  •  Chile
  •  China
  •  Colombia
  •  France
  •  India
  •  Indonesia
  •  Japan
  •  Malaysia
  •  Mexico
  •  Netherlands
  •  New Zealand
  •  Norway
  •  Peru
  •  Philippines
  •  Singapore
  •  South Korea
  •  Tonga
  •  United Kingdom
  •  United States

6 Observers
(RIMPAC 2014)
  •  Bangladesh
  •  Brazil
  •  Denmark
  •  Germany
  •  Italy
  •  Papua New Guinea

2 Past Active
(Not active in 2014)
  •  Russia
  •  Thailand

2 Past Observers
(Not observing in 2014)
  •  Ecuador
  •  Taiwan

RIMPAC, the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, is the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise. RIMPAC is held biennially during June and July of even-numbered years from Honolulu, Hawaii, with the exception of 2020 where it was held in August. It is hosted and administered by the United States Navy's Indo-Pacific Command, headquartered at Pearl Harbor, in conjunction with the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and Hawaii National Guard forces under the control of the Governor of Hawaii. The US invites military forces from the Pacific Rim and beyond to participate. With RIMPAC the United States Indo-Pacific Command seeks to enhance interoperability among Pacific Rim armed forces, as a means of promoting stability in the region to the benefit of all participating nations. It is described by the US Navy as a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans.[1]


The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier battle group along with ships from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, and South Korea during RIMPAC 2000.

The first RIMPAC, held in 1971, involved forces from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US). Australia, Canada, and the US have participated in every RIMPAC since then. Other regular participants are Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. The Royal New Zealand Navy was frequently involved until the 1985 ANZUS nuclear ships dispute, but has taken part in recent RIMPACs such as in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.

Several observer nations are usually invited, including China, Ecuador, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and Russia, who became an active participant for the first time in 2012.[2] While not contributing any ships, observer nations are involved in RIMPAC at the strategic level and use the opportunity to prepare for possible full participation in the future.

The United States contingent has included an aircraft carrier strike group, submarines, up to a hundred aircraft and 20,000 Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and their respective officers. The size of the exercises varies from year to year.

RIMPAC 2010[edit]

Sea Combat Control (19 July 2010)

On 23 June 2010, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Patrick M. Walsh and Combined Task Force commander Vice Admiral Richard W. Hunt announced the official start of the month-long 2010 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise during a press conference held in Lockwood Hall at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. RIMPAC 2010 was the 22nd exercise in the series that originated in 1971.[3] The exercise was designed to increase the operational and tactical proficiency of participating units in a wide array of maritime operations by enhancing military-to-military relations and interoperability.[4] Thirty-two ships, five submarines, over 170 aircraft, and 20,000 personnel participated in RIMPAC 2010, the world's largest multi-national maritime exercise.[5]

RIMPAC 2010 brought together units and personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States. During the exercise, participating countries conducted gunnery, missile, anti-submarine, and air defense exercises, as well as maritime interdiction and vessel boarding, explosive ordnance disposal, diving and salvage operations, mine clearance operations, and an amphibious landing. RIMPAC 2010 will also emphasize littoral operations with ships like the U.S. littoral combat ship Freedom, the French frigate Prairial, and the Singaporean Formidable-class frigate RSS Supreme.[3]

On 28 June 2010, the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan arrived in Pearl Harbor to participate in RIMPAC 2010. Ronald Reagan was the only aircraft carrier to participate in this exercise. During the in-port phase of RIMPAC, officers and crew of the 14 participating navies interact in receptions, meetings, and athletic events.[6] Ronald Reagan completed its Tailored Ships Training Availability (TSTA) exercises prior to RIMPAC 2010.[6]

During 6–7 July 2010, 32 naval vessels and five submarines from seven nations departed Pearl Harbor to participate in Phase II of RIMPAC 2010. This phase included live fire gunnery and missile exercises; maritime interdiction and vessel boardings; and anti-surface warfare, undersea warfare, naval maneuvers and air defense exercises. Participants also collaborated in explosive ordnance disposal; diving and salvage operations; mine clearance operations; and amphibious operations.[7] Phase III involved scenario-driven exercises designed to further strengthen maritime skills and capabilities.[7]

During RIMPAC 2010, over 40 naval personnel from Singapore, Japan, Australia, Chile, Peru, and Colombia managed combat exercises while serving aboard Ronald Reagan (pictured). This involved managing anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare for Carrier Strike Group Seven and the entire RIMPAC force, including the use of radar, charts, and high-tech devices to monitor, chart, and communicate with other ships and submarines. Tactical action officers from the different countries coordinated the overall operational picture and provided direction and administration to the enlisted personnel involved in the Sea Combat Control (SCC) activities.[8] Also, Ronald Reagan conducted a live Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launch, firing at a simulated target, the first since 2007.[5][6]

On 30 July 2010, RIMPAC 2010 concluded with a press conference held at Merry Point Landing on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.[4] A reception for over 1,500 participants, distinguished visitors and special guests was held in the hangar bays of the carrier Ronald Reagan.[5]

During RIMPAC 2010, participating countries conducted three sinking exercises (SINKEX) involving 140 discrete live-fire events that included 30 surface-to-air engagements, 40 air-to-air missile engagements, 12 surface-to-surface engagements, 76 laser-guided bombs, and more than 1,000 rounds of naval gunfire from 20 surface combatant warships.[4] Units flew more than 3100 air sorties, completed numerous maritime interdiction and vessel boardings, explosive ordnance disposal, diving and salvage operations and mine clearance operations and 10 major experiments, with the major one being the U.S. Marine Corps Enhanced Company Operations experiment.[4] Ground forces from five countries completed five amphibious landings, including nine helicopter-borne amphibious landings and 560 troops from ship-to-shore mission. In all, 960 different training events were scheduled and 96 percent were completed in all areas of the Hawaiian operations area, encompassing Kāneʻohe Bay, Bellows Air Force Station, the Pacific Missile Range Facility, and the Pohakuloa Training Area.[4]

RIMPAC 2012[edit]

RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series and started on 29 June 2012. 42 ships, including the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and other elements of Carrier Strike Group 11, six submarines,[9] 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel from 22 nations took part in Hawaii. The exercise involved surface combatants from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Chile.[10] The US Navy demonstrated its 'Great Green Fleet' of biofuel-driven vessels for which it purchased 450,000 gallons of biofuel, the largest single purchase of biofuel in history at a cost of $12m.[11] On 17 July, USNS Henry J. Kaiser delivered 900,000 gallons of biofuel and traditional petroleum-based fuel to Nimitz's Carrier Strike Group 11.[12]

The exercises included units or personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.[13][14] Russia participated actively for the first time,[2] as did the Philippines, reportedly due to the escalating tensions with the People's Republic of China over ownership of Scarborough Shoal.[15]

RIMPAC 2012 marked the debut of the U.S. Navy's new P-8A Poseidon land-based anti-submarine patrol aircraft, with two P-8As participating in 24 RIMPAC exercise scenarios as part of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VX-1) based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay.[16]

RIMPAC 2014[edit]

Multinational task force in RIMPAC 2014.

RIMPAC 2014 was the 24th exercise in the series and took place from 26 June to 1 August, with an opening reception on 26 June and closing reception 1 August.[1]

For the first time, the Royal Norwegian Navy actively participated in the exercise. Norway sent one Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate and possibly Norwegian marine special forces.[23] China was also invited to send ships from their People's Liberation Army Navy; marking not only the first time China participated in a RIMPAC exercise, but also the first time China participated in a large-scale United States-led naval drill.[24] On 9 June 2014, China confirmed it would be sending four ships to the exercise, a destroyer, frigate, supply ship, and hospital ship.[25][26]

The year's RIMPAC participants were Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Tonga, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[27] Thailand was uninvited from the exercise following a 22 May military coup. Thailand's absence means that 22 nations participated in RIMPAC instead of the 23 that had been advertised.[28] The exercise involved 55 vessels, more than 200 aircraft, and some 25,000 personnel.[17][29]

RIMPAC 2016[edit]

India participated in RIMPAC 2016.[31]

In April 2016, the People's Republic of China was also invited to RIMPAC 2016 despite the tension in South China Sea.[32]

RIMPAC 2018[edit]

In January 2018, China announced that it had been invited. On 23 May 2018, however, the Pentagon announced that it had "disinvited" China because of recent militarization of islands in the South China Sea.[33] The PRC has previously attended RIMPAC Exercises on 2014 and 2016.

On 30 May 2018, the US Navy announced that about 25,000 naval personnel and 52 ships and submarines from 26 countries will participate.[34] These are the following units that would take part in the exercise:

In this edition of RIMPAC, the Chilean Navy was responsible for leading the naval exercise, being the first non-English-speaking Navy to carry out this task. The election of Chile as leader of the Task Groups is a recognition of the high performance achieved in recent editions and the quality of its personnel, which since its first participation in 1996 has been demonstrating its preparation and professionalism. This appointment also places this country in a leadership position in the Latin American and world level in the planning and execution of combined naval operations.[35]

Israel, Vietnam and Sri Lanka made their debut in RIMPAC. Brazil was due to make its debut too, but cancelled its participation for the second time.[36] The exercise also included a live firing of the AGM-158C LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile) for the first time.

RIMPAC 2020[edit]

On 29 April 2020, the US Navy announced RIMPAC would be held from August 17 to August 30. It would be at-sea-only event because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[37] Twenty-five (25) nations have been invited to participate.[38] Israel was among the original 25 invited nations, but declined to attend due to the pandemic.[39] There has been some opposition to New Zealand's participation and there have been calls from peace activists for New Zealand not to attend.[40] The Philippines sent its first missile-capable frigate on its maiden voyage, which was only commissioned into service last 10 July 2020, as its "shakedown cruise" where its performance would be tested by the crew in the two-week exercises.[41]

On 17 August 2020, the US Navy announced that participation has scaled down to 10 nations, 22 ships, one submarine, and approximately 5,300 personnel, all at sea.[42] These are the following navies that would take part in the exercise:

On 29 August 2020, forces began firing on former USS Durham, a Charleston-class amphibious cargo vessel that was decommissioned in 1994. The US Navy and partner nations wrapped up the biennial RIMPAC 2020 exercise over the weekend with the sinking of the decommissioned amphibious cargo vessel.[43]


RIMPAC experiments have included a range of sectors important to international militaries. In RIMPAC 2000, for example, the first of the Strong Angel international humanitarian response demonstrations was held on the Big Island of Hawai'i near Pu'u Pa'a. That series continued with events in the summer of 2004 and again in 2006.

Participants have also conducted exercises in ship-sinking and torpedo usage. They also have tested new naval vessels and technology. For example, in 2004, the United States Navy tested the Australian built HSV-2 Swift, a 321-foot (98 m) experimental wave-piercing catamaran that draws only 12 feet (3.7 m) of water, has a top speed of almost 50 knots (93 km/h; 58 mph), and can transport 605 tons of cargo.


42 ships & subs from 15 nations in close formation during RIMPAC 2014

In popular culture[edit]

  • RIMPAC 2012 was the main setting of the 2012 film Battleship.[44]
  • The IMAX documentary film Aircraft Carrier: Guardians of the Sea covers RIMPAC 2014.


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External links[edit]