Ships in formation
Ships from many nations in formation during RIMPAC 2016. Navy photo

The Navy announced the giant, biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise involving 26 nations will begin June 27 around the Hawaiian Islands and off Southern California.

A total of 47 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the six-day exercise.

RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971. The theme of this year’s exercise is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” and training will range from disaster relief to counter-piracy to complex warfare.

China was disinvited last week because of its militarization of the South China Sea, but Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating for the first time.

Other countries involved are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga and the United Kingdom.

During the exercise a U.S. Air Force plane will fire a new long-range, anti-ship cruise missile, and both Japanese and U.S. Army units will fire surface-to-ship missiles.

The U.S. 3rd Fleet’s command center will temporarily relocate from San Diego to Pearl Harbor to support the exercise, operating initially from Hospital Point and then moving to the recently-commissioned amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland.

The exercise will be led by Vice Adm. John D. Alexander, commander of the 3rd Fleet, with Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Bob Auchterlonie and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Adm. Hideyuki Oban as deputies. Air Commodore Craig Heap of the Royal Australian Air Force will command the air component.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.