Pacific Fleet to Host At-Sea-Only RIMPAC Exercise in August

Military members from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian army, U.S. Marines, Sri Lankan navy and marines, Royal Malaysian Army, His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Brunei, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the New Zealand army gather for a group photo on the flight deck of the landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Adelaide during the last RIMPAC two years ago. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — The U.S. Navy will sponsor the 27th Rim of the Pacific exercise, from Aug. 17 to Aug. 31, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a release. 

Hosted by the commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, this biennial maritime exercise will be an at-sea-only event in light of COVID-19 concerns. The theme of RIMPAC 2020 is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.” 

The at-sea-only construct for RIMPAC 2020 was developed to ensure the safety of all forces participating by minimizing shore-based contingents. Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet crafted the modified RIMPAC plan as a way to conduct a meaningful exercise with maximum training value and minimum risk to the force, allies and partners, and the people of Hawaii. 

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC is designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships, critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. 

The exercise, which takes place in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands, is a training platform designed to enhance interoperability and strategic maritime partnerships. In 2018, during the last RIMPAC, 26 nations participated in and around Hawaii. 

“In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that our maritime forces work together to protect vital shipping lanes and ensure freedom of navigation through international waters,” said Adm. John Aquilino, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “And we will operate safely, using prudent mitigation measures.” 

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, during RIMPAC 2018. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

As the U.S. Navy continues to limit the spread of COVID-19, RIMPAC 2020 is not scheduled to include social events ashore. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will be accessible for logistics support, with a minimal footprint of staff ashore for command and control, logistics and other support functions. 

This year’s exercise will include multinational anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations and live-fire training events, among other cooperative training opportunities. Continued planning will remain flexible as Navy leaders monitor and assess evolving circumstances. 

“We remain committed to and capable of safeguarding allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” Aquilino said. “The flexible approach to RIMPAC 2020 strikes the right balance between combatting future adversaries and the COVID-19 threat.” 

RIMPAC 2020 will be led by the commander of the U.S. 3rd Fleet, Vice Adm. Scott D. Conn. 

The Chilean navy frigate CNS Almirante Lynch and the Indian navy stealth multi-role frigate INS Sahyadri perform a replenishment-at-sea with the Royal Canadian Navy supply ship MV Asterix off the coast of Hawaii during RIMPAC 2018. Twenty-five nations, 46 ships, five submarines and about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez