RIMPAC War Games here in July

SOURCE: Koohan Paik (kosherkimchee@yahoo.com)
 SUBHEAD: Ships, planes and people from 14 nations will be participating in the biennial Pacific "war games".  

By William Cole on 20 June 2010 in the Star Advertiser -  

[Editor's note: The USS Freedom participating in RIMPAC 2010 was built by Hawaii Superferry contractor Austal USA]
Image above: RIMPAC participant U.S.S. Freedom (L) is replenished by helicopter-carrying amphibious-assault ship U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard (R). From article.

Every two years, a unique tide surges into Hawaii. This week, it arrives again, in the form of 14 nations, 34 ships, five submarines and more than 100 aircraft and 20,000 military personnel.

Ships are converging on Pearl Harbor from countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, as well as from the West Coast of the U.S., for biennial "Rim of the Pacific" 2010 war games, the world's largest international maritime exercise. Among the U.S. forces taking part are the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan with more than 5,000 crew and airwing members; the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard; the Navy's first littoral combat ship, the Freedom; three submarines; and Air Force B-52 bombers and F-22 Raptor fighters, officials said. A Japanese and South Korean submarine already are in port.

The first surface ship is due tomorrow, "and then they start pouring in in masses on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday," said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Self-Kyler. The exercise, which takes place Wednesday through Aug. 1, will be held in and around Hawaii waters. Its theme is "Combined Agility, Synergy and Support." The upcoming war games, the 22nd in a series since 1971, are multipurpose and have evolved from a Cold War origin and concerns about the Soviet Union to more recent worries about other growing military powers in the Pacific, including China, an expert on the region said.

 The Navy said "RIMPAC," as it's known, "demonstrates a commitment to working with global partners in guarding the sea lanes of commerce and communication, protecting national interests abroad and ensuring freedom of navigation as a basis for global peace and prosperity." The Navy's Self-Kyler added that familiarity with operations and information sharing among allies is key -- particularly in response to tsunami or earthquake disasters.

"We've planned major exercises and we've operated around one another, and then if you have a real-world situation, all of those experiences and all of those relationships are easier to manage," she said. China, meanwhile, is reaching out in waters beyond Japan and asserting claims in the South China Sea.

Carl Baker, director of programs at the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies in Ho- nolulu, said RIMPAC is a demonstration of U.S. and allied capabilities and its desire for open sea lanes. "This (RIMPAC) was designed originally as a more confrontational containment sort of exercise (focused on the Soviet Union), and it's evolved into a freedom of navigation and sort of what the modern idea of what naval warfare represents to the United States," Baker said.

This year's exercise includes units or personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. The Navy also said there will be three observer nations: Brazil, India and New Zealand.

At least 11 foreign vessels and 16 U.S. ships from other ports will swell Pearl Harbor's usual contingent of 11 surface ships and 17 submarines during RIMPAC. Self-Kyler said in addition to cat-and-mouse anti-submarine warfare exercises and mine warfare practice, there will be an emphasis on counter piracy with ship-boarding practice and back-to-basics beach assaults for the Marines.

The United States is part of a security group called Combined Maritime Forces that patrols more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters from the Strait of Hormuz to the Suez Canal, and from Pakistan to Kenya, to prevent piracy and other illegal activity.

 The U.S. and four other nations will take part in beach landings at Bellows from the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, Self-Kyler said. The landings will represent a renewed emphasis for the U.S. Marines, who hit the beach in amphibious assault vehicles, big hovercraft and helicopters.

"For the past several years we've been focused more on land-based operations," said Master Sgt. Lesli Coakley, a spokesperson for Marine Forces Pacific. "(RIMPAC) is an opportunity for us to refocus on our amphibious traditions." Self-Kyler said three decommissioned ships will be sunk during RIMPAC with torpedoes and Standard and Harpoon missiles, including the New Orleans, an amphibious assault ship, and the Anchorage and Monticello, both docking landing ships.

About 25 ships also will be participating in gunnery exercises. The Navy said it sets afloat inflatable and biodegradable balloons about 15 feet in diameter nicknamed "killer tomatoes" that are used as targets. The war games are held in the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Kauai, which has more than 1,100 square miles of underwater range and more than 42,000 square miles of controlled airspace.

 On about July 6 and 7, the 34 ships taking part in the exercise will pull out of Pearl Harbor for the exercise, the Navy said. The ships will pull back into port on July 31. The in-port time will provide a big economic boost in Waikiki, officials said. According to the Navy, the exercise in 2008 resulted in $43 million in contracts and spending ashore.

Littoral Combat Ship at RIMPAC
SOURCE: Dick Mayer (dickmayer@earthlink.net) SUBHEAD: U.S.S. Freedom (LCS) departs for RIMPAC 2010, world's largest naval "exercise".
By Jane Anderson on 16 June 2010 in Suite101.com - (http://news.suite101.com/article.cfm/uss-freedom-departs-for-worlds-largest-maritime-exercise-a250111)
The U.S.S. Freedom, the first in a series of Littoral Design ships for the U.S. Navy, departed San Diego on June 16, bound for the Hawaiian Islands. The Freedom will participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010, which the Navy says is the world's largest maritime exercise.
Air, land and maritime forces from 14 nations, including the United States as well as Australia, Canada, Japan and the Republic of Korea, will participate in RIMPAC, which takes place every two years. A total of 34 ships, five submarines, more than 100 aircraft and 20,000 military personnel will participate, according to RIMPAC.

Navy: RIMPAC 'Helps Ensure Stability' in Pacific Rim

RIMPAC exercises ready participating forces for a wide range of potential operations, which in turn "helps ensure stability throughout the Pacific Rim" and encourages development and prosperity, according to the U.S. Navy.
During RIMPAC, participants will conduct gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as maritime interdiction and vessel boardings, explosive ordnance disposal, diving and salvage operations, mine clearance operations and an amphibious landing.

Freedom to Test Air Defense, Anti-Submarine Systems

As part of the 22nd RIMPAC, Freedom will continue testing its systems and refining its surface warfare and maritime security capabilities, said Commander Kris Doyle, commanding officer of Freedom's Blue Crew, in a Navy statement. "We have several 'first-of' events scheduled, ranging from air defense to anti-submarine to fire support exercises," Doyle said. "Every day, we will be stretching ourselves to learn more about what LCS [Littoral Combat Ship] brings to the fleet and how we integrate in a multinational environment." U.S.S. Freedom First in Littoral Class Ships for U.S. Navy The U.S.S. Freedom, which arrived home in San Diego after its first deployment on April 23, 2010, was the first-launched of the U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ships. The second littoral ship, the U.S.S. Independence, launched on March 26, 2010.

The U.S. Navy envisions its Littoral Combat Ships as smaller, more agile vessels suited better for coastal operations than for warfare on the high sea.

"Littoral" means "of or on a shore, particularly a seashore," and the Navy's $30 billion program is aimed at building a new type of flexible surface combatant that could move easily from mission to mission. The ships are designed to be fitted with "plug and play" mission packages that can be swapped out as needs arise.

U.S. Navy to Choose One Littoral Combat Ship

Although the U.S.S. Freedom and the U.S.S. Independence both are designed for the same type of shallow-water, coastal missions, they represent very different designs. The Freedom is a semi-planing monohull, while the Independence is an aluminum trimaran.

Although the project has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, the Navy eventually hopes to build about 55 Littoral Combat Ships.

In September 2009, the Navy announced that it will choose one of the two existing Littoral designs -- either the design for the Freedom or the Independence -- by September 2010, and will award a fixed-price incentive contract to one of the two companies to build 10 ships over five years.

Regardless of whether the Freedom design or the Independence design is selected, the Navy said it expects to continue testing the U.S.S. Freedom design, as it plans to do as part of RIMPAC.
See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC to Return in 2010 5/2/10
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 uses destructive sonar 4/22/08
Island Breath: Judge restricts sonar off California 08/07/07
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar use feared 5/23/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar compromise 7/9/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2004 Strands whales in Hanlei 09/02/04


Anonymous said...

This is utter nonsense. Waste of money. It's a big touristy party time drunken sailor thing. Sells lots of booze in the military clubs. Watch the whales and dolphins wash up. Once had a Naval Officer tell me, "Sonar doesn't kill them. It just burst their ear drums." Somebody ought to burst his. My hope would be bars would tell these gentlemen of the death cult to go fly a kite. Preferably in the Gulf. Fear a Chinese attack? Oh, come on...

Anonymous said...

I have never understood the military value in shooting at "sitting targets." The decommissioned warships that will be used in the RIMPAC War Games are usually static targets; i.e., they sit dead-in-the-water waiting for the killing shot via torpedo, bomb, or gunfire. As a former crewmember of one of the aforementioned target ships - the USS Monticello LSD-35 - we practiced anti-aircraft gunnery using targets towed behind aircraft to simulate semi-actual combat conditions. It would seem to make more sense to at least tow the target vessels at some speed to simulate an actual wartime situation. That being said, it's even more ridiculous to use these decommissioned ships as targets in the first place: The carbon footprint of making the amount of steel in these ships is staggering. These ships should be dismanteled, melted down, and recycled into new steel instead of having to mine all the iron ore and coal used in the smelting process - not to mention all the air pollution created in that smelting process - to replace the thousands of tons of steel that are in these vessels. Shame on the Navy for this needless waste of resources and needless polluting of the atmosphere!

Ron Harben
former Radarman on the USS Monticello LSD-35, 1965-67

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