Hawaii became the focus of the largest Pacific naval exercise on 29 June as international navies converged on the islands to begin Rim of the Pacific 2012. This is the 23rd exercise in the RIMPAC series and promises to be the largest ever.

The US Pacific Fleet hosts the RIMPAC exercise every two years in Hawaiian waters and the surrounding environs. The series began back in 1971 and has grown in size every year since.
RIMPAC is the largest and most comprehensive maritime warfare exercise in the world. Asian-Pacific nations are routinely invited to participate as a means of improving the coordination, cooperation, and interoperability of Pacific naval forces. The exercise is designed to enhance regional stability, encourage cultural understanding, maximize training opportunities, and promote Pacific maritime relationships.

United States Navy Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise.
Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971. Photo Jacek Szymanski DNPA

With 42 ships from five nations forming the seaborne element, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and other ships of Carrier Group 11 form the centerpiece of this year’s exercise. Also participating are six submarines and more than 200 aircraft as well as personnel and units from 22 nations in all.

And for the first time, many of the American ships will be powered by a 50/50 biofuel blend of regular fuel oil and a select mixture of hydro-processed fuel derived from cooking oil and algae. The US Navy is reported to have bought some 425,000 gallons of this biofuel at a cost of $12 million for use in this year’s exercise, the largest single biofuel buy in history. Some aircraft are also expected to be fueled with an aviation-grade biofuel blend as well. The US Navy has invested considerable funds in emerging technologies using algae, recycled cooking oil, sugar, corn, and other staple crops to produce biofuels that could help reduce the Navy’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Another first being introduced in this year’s exercise is the placing of naval and air commands under the leadership of international partners. Russia is also making its debut appearance in this year’s exercise, a decision that may have been prompted by growing concerns regarding China’s growth and military modernization.

Exercise participants will conduct training in mine clearing, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), humanitarian relief, and disaster response. Humanitarian relief and disaster response exercises are also new to this year’s event and will include responders and medical personnel from disaster relief teams located in Hawaii.

Other scheduled exercises include ship-sinking operations, torpedo training, and experiments with new seaborne vessel designs. RIMPAC 2012 is scheduled to wrap up on 5 August.

Following is a photo collection congratulating the foreign visitors, some regulars other – first timers, in Pearl Harbour.

Anzac class frigate HMAS Perth (FFH 157), of the Royal Australian Navy transits the waters of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam upon arrival for the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. U.S. Navy photo by Daniel Barker
Back at Pearl Harbour – JS Shirane (DDH 143), of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, transits the waters of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for RIMPAC 2012. Photo: US Navy, Daniel Barker.
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Myoko (DDG 175) sits pierside at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. Photo by: NZDF Amanda McErlich
Singapore Naval frigate RSS Formidable (68) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2012. US Navy photo by Sean Furey
The Russian Navy Udaloy-class destroyer RFS Admiral Panteleyev (BPK 548) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. US Navy Photo, by Sean Furey
The South Korean ships ROKS Yolgok Yi-l (DDG 992) and the ROKS Choi Young (DDH 981) are decorated to celebrate the 4th of July during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC 2012) exercise. Photo: NZDF, by Amanda McErlich
The Chilean Navy frigate Almirante Lynch (FF 07) pulls into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. US Navy photo by Daniel Barker
Australian Navy Collins-class submarine HMAS Farncomb (SSG 74). US Navy photo by Daniel Barker
Canadian long-range hunter-killer submarine HMCS Victoria (SSK 876) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2012. US Navy photo by Sean Furey
Canadian Navy warship HMCS Algonquin (DDG 283) arrives at Pearl Harbour for RIMPAC 2012. Japan Navy photo by Tetsuya Sekino
The Mexican Navy ship Usumacinta (A-412), formerly the USS Fredrick (LST-1184). US Navy photo by Sean Furey
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