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Pacific Rim Nations Prepare for 'Ultimate' Exercise

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100702-09

By Lt. Cmdr. Fenn Kemp, Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2010, Australian Navy Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The commander of Australia's contingent to exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 says RIMPAC will be among the largest and most important exercises Australia has participated in for many years.

Commodore Stuart Mayer says the biennial exercise will provide a unique challenge to all involved.

"RIMPAC is the ultimate test of how we operate with our Pacific partners," said Mayer. "Whether you are a member of the flight crew on an RAAF Orion, an Australian Soldier operating with the U.S. Marine Corps or a Sailor on one of our Navy's three ships attending this year, RIMPAC throws up challenges rarely encountered on other exercises."

More than 1,200 Australian Defense Force (ADF) personnel are arriving in Hawaii to participate in RIMPAC, which is designed to test their interoperability with 14 Pacific rim nations, including the United States, South Korea, Indonesia and Canada.

Three Australian Navy ships, HMAS Kanimbla (L 51), HMAS Newcastle (FFG 60) and HMAS Warramunga (FFH 152), are participating in RIMPAC 2010. They are being joined by members of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, two RAAF AP-3C Orions from RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia and Navy Clearance Divers.

This RIMPAC will also give both Navy and Army the chance to exercise in an amphibious space.

"The first of two new Australian amphibious ships (LHDs) are due to be complete in 2014 so we continue to exercise our developing amphibious capability in this environment." said Mayer. "The ADF continues to develop and refine its amphibious capability and knowledge in preparation for the capability increase presented by the arrival of the LHD. The information sharing opportunities presented by RIMPAC directly contribute to our preparations for the LHD. This is an exciting new capability we are taking on and all three services will have a role to play."

RIMPAC 2010 will be the last for the Australian Navy's 817 Sea King Squadron which is due to be de-commissioned in 2011.

"The Sea Kings have a long history with the RAN (Royal Australian Navy) and have provided excellent support throughout their operational service." said Mayer. "The flexibility provided by this capable aircraft will be put to good use, particularly during the amphibious phase of this exercise."

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