RIMPAC exercises Canadian, coalition interoperability

The world’s largest maritime exercise wrapped up on August 3 following a month of scenarios to test coalition interoperability.

Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), now in its 23rd year, is held around the Hawaiian Islands. What began in 1971 as a Five Eyes exercise involving the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada has swelled to 22 nations, 40 ships, six submarines and more than 200 aircraft, as well as 25,000 military forces conducting air, sea and land operations.

The 2012 version, hosted once again by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, marked several firsts, including the deployment of non-U.S. officers to command components of the Combined Task Force (CTF).

Canada’s BGen Mike Hood, deputy director general of international security policy at National Defence and a former commander of 8 Wing Trenton, commanded the air component while RAdm Ron Lloyd, recently Chief of Force Development, served as deputy commander of CTF. Commodore Peter Ellis directed the amphibious task group led by the USS Essex.”

“The fact that a Canadian has been chosen to lead the air component is indicative of how seamlessly we operate with the U.S. military,” said Hood, who commanded the 150-person Combined Air Operations Centre.

The Royal Canadian Air Force contribution included CC-177 Globemaster and CC-150 Polaris airlift support, four CP-140 Aurora long range patrol aircraft, seven CF-18 Hornets, a CC-150 Polaris air-to-air-refueller and a CC-130H(T) air-to-air-refueller as well as two CH-124 Sea King detachments. Among the other more notable components under Hood’s command was a U.S. carrier air wing.

The Royal Canadian Navy marked a milestone for its Victoria-class submarines with the firing of a MK48 Heavyweight Torpedo on a decommissioned ship, USS Concord, by HMCS Victoria off the island of Kauai. HMCS Algonquin, Ottawa, Brandon, Saskatoon and Yellowknife, along with Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific), also took part in the exercise.

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