August 19, 2020 – Exercise Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise. Since its inception in 1971, the unique training event has grown in scope and complexity to provide participating nations the chance to strengthen military partnerships, provide experience operating with international forces and overall readiness to contribute to a wide-range of potential coalition operations.
The at-sea-only construct for RIMPAC 2020 was developed to ensure the safety of all military 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.
Commodore Angus Topshee, Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific, says the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is ready to adapt and respond to changes in the world, including the RCN’s response to COVID-19 mitigation efforts for the exercise. Sailors and aviators were quarantined prior to the exercise, and COVID-19 testing was conducted in cooperation with the Government of British Columbia (B.C.).
“We will continue to review and adapt all our procedures in light of COVID-19, and I have confidence in the flexible and innovative nature of our sailors and aviators to get the job done safely,” said Topshee. “I am extremely proud of the fleet’s accomplishments, and the resilience and leadership shown by all Canadian Fleet Pacific personnel throughout this unprecedented pandemic.”
In early August, HMC Ships Regina and Winnipeg with a combined 500 sailors, each with an embarked Cyclone air detachment, sailed from Esquimalt for the exercise off the coast of Hawaii. Training scenarios will focus on multinational anti-submarine warfare exercises, maritime interdiction operations, live-fire events and other cooperative opportunities. HMCS Regina will be sporting the Admiralty Disruptive paint-scheme being used to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic.
The Asia-Pacific is a region of increasing importance to Canada in terms of prosperity and security. Canada’s participation in the exercise is a strong example of the Canadian Armed Forces’ longstanding commitment to peace and stability in the region.
“The biennial participation in this high-end exercise with the U.S. and allies from across the Indo-Pacific highlights our commitment to working collaboratively on security and defense issues across this vital strategic region,” said Topshee.
HMC Ships Regina and Winnipeg and Canadian Fleet Pacific Headquarters staff have been conducting months of training to prepare for the summer exercise.
Regina completed high-readiness collective training off the coast of B.C. with the assistance of Sea Training (Pacific) prior to departing. Winnipeg will embark Sea Training (Pacific) to complete high-readiness training en route to Hawaii.
“The training will continue throughout RIMPAC as Winnipeg will carry on to deploy following her participation in the multinational exercise,” said Capt. Scott Robinson. “Sea Training (Pacific) will be working closely with United States Navy units to ensure they are able to achieve their specific training objectives concurrently to Winnipeg’s participation in RIMPAC.”
To achieve success at sea, the ships’ teams conducted a series of collective training events while alongside. Both ships completed Damage Control Team Training, Casualty Clearing Team Training, and Operations Team Training Level 1 and 2.
Following the release of findings after the recent Cyclone crash, Royal Canadian Air Force pilots have conducted additional ground and simulator training, and have resumed flying on the West Coast. Final Force Generation activities will take place locally in Esquimalt, and on board HMCS Calgary at sea, prior to their joining Winnipeg and Regina.
The schedule of events involves an active two-week structured training program that will include multinational anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction operations, and live-fire events.
Ten nations, 22 ships, 1 submarine, and more than 5,300 personnel are participating in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) from August 17 to 31 at sea around the Hawaiian Islands. RIMPAC is a biennial exercise 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 is a unique training platform designed to enhance interoperability and strategic maritime partnerships. RIMPAC 2020 is the 27th exercise in the series that began in 1971.