Australian Forces Arrive in Hawaii for Largest Maritime Naval Exercise

Four Royal Australian Navy vessels and almost 700 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel have arrived in Hawaii ahead of the worlds largest naval exercise: the Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2020 (RIMPAC).

This years RIMPAC has been scaled down with the number of nations reduced from 26 to 10.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event will only involve maritime exercises over a two-week period, and no land-based activities or social events.

Linda Reynolds, minister for defence, said in a media release that Australias participation reflects the nations “close alliance” with the United States and its regional partners.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
HMA Ships Sirius and Stuart sail in company with RSS Supreme, KDB Daruleshan, and JS Ashigara through the Pacific Ocean as they prepare to take part in Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2020 on Aug. 17, 2020. (Australian Department of Defence)

“The government recognises the importance of our maritime forces as a vital element of our defence strategy, and exercises such as this are key to further enhancing our capabilities,” Reynolds said.

The exercises will involve 22 surface ships, one submarine, multiple aircraft, and around 5,300 personnel.

Participating forces will engage in simulations of multinational anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations, live-fire training events, and other cooperative training opportunities.

Held biennially, this years RIMPAC includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States.

One noticeable absentee is China, who was disinvited from the 2018 event following objections over Beijings deployment of missiles and electronic jamming equipment to the disputed Spratly Islands.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
An aerial view of uninhabited island of Spratlys in the disputed South China Sea on April 21, 2017. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

Sascha Bachmann, professor of law and hybrid warfare expert, told The Epoch Times on Aug. 20, that despite the 2020 event being scaled down (from 47 navy vessels to 22) it nonetheless still sends a “strong signal of maritime warfighting capabilities” to Beijing.

Bachmann said Beijings army and naval forces have shown “increased aggressive behaviour” in the region, namely around Taiwan and its activities in the South China Sea.

According to Commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. John Aquilino, the increasingly tense security environment in the Indo-Pacific required like-minded nations to “join forces to build trust and collective Read More – Source

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