Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 6 2010 Contents 32 www.defence.gov.au/defencemagazine
One of the ADF’s most
important exercises this year,
Rim of the Pacific Exercise
(RIMPAC) 2010 has seen more
than 1200 Australian Defence
Force (ADF) personnel
involved in a massive maritime
operation off the coast of
The highlights for the ADF contingent included
missile firings, complex submarine hunting and a
major multi national amphibious assault, planned
and coordinated by an Australian command team.
The head of Australia’s contingent, Commodore
Stuart Mayer, said this has been the most
successful RIMPAC for the ADF since the exercise
began in the early 1970s.
“It is a common cliché to say that every exercise
is the best one ever. But in this instance it is very
likely true,” CDRE Mayer said.
Amongst these successes include commanding
the exercise’s Expeditionary Strike Group, which
comprised three amphibious ships, up to 15
cruisers and destroyers and a US Marine Corps
Taskforce – a total force of almost 1000 men and
HMAS Kanimbla joined the USS Cleveland and
the amphibious ship USS Bonhomme Richard
in conducting a series of landing evolutions.
the key for
RimPac 2010 ByLieutenantCommanderFennKemp
Members of 2RAR were on board both US ships,
to familiarise themselves with the ADF’s emerging
According to Major Mick Buchanan, Officer
Commanding B Company 2RAR onboard Cleveland,
getting used to life at sea was sometimes
“Many of us have been on HMA Ships Kanimbla,
Manoora or Tobruk before, but no-one has ever
taken part in an amphibious activity on this scale,”
Major Buchanan said.
“RIMPAC’s focus is on interoperability, and we got
plenty of that during our time onboard.”
The exercise also saw the world’s first combined
joint Harpoon Block II missile firing from HMAS
Warramunga, involving an RAAF AP-3C Orion and
ships from Canada and the US.
Commanding Officer of HMAS Warramunga
Commander Bruce Legge agrees the missile firing
phase was a major success.
“The opportunity to use all of Warramunga’s
primary weapons systems in a realistic tactical
environment has added greatly to the knowledge
and experience of the ship’s company, provided a
rare but vital addition to the Navy’s knowledge,
and validated a great deal of current tactical
Forward planning for the Harpoon missile firings
had been intense between HMAS Warramunga,
exercise planners and the RAAF’s 11 Squadron.
When the time came to deploy the weapon, 11
Squadron Commanding Officer Wing Commander
Philip Champion said the execution was flawless.
“It came off the Orion’s wing, skidded along the
surface and hit the target which was the former
US amphibious carrier New Orleans,” WGCDR
Champion said. “It was flawless and we enjoyed
working with our Navy colleagues again.”
HMAS Newcastle’s firing of an SM2 Block 3A
was the first ever firing of this weapon from an
FFG. Newcastle was conducting its first overseas
deployment since undergoing an extensive upgrade
of the ship’s combat systems and weapons
systems on board.
Naval aviators were also kept busy, with the
exercise being the final RIMPAC for 817 Squadron’s
Sea Kings. They began with short logistics
movements of people and stores before branching
out into long range movements of personnel.
HMAS Warramunga’s Seahawk helicopter ‘Hotrod’
also played a vital role, particularly during the
quick changing tactical phase.
CDRE Mayer said RIMPAC 2010 was as
challenging as it was successful.
“Whether it was the coordinated Harpoon firing;
the first splash of Amphibious Assault Vehicles
from HMAS Kanimbla; 2 RAR operating alongside
US Marines or divers raising a sunken tug from the
bottom, all our soldiers, sailors and airmen have
performed at an impressive level,” CDRE Mayer
LeFT Page: HMAS Warramunga conducts a Harpoon, Block II firing for a multi-national surface target engagement (SINKEX) off the coast of Hawaii in the Pacific Missile Range Facility, during RIMPAC
2010. An Australian AP 3C also conducted a firing as part of the exercise. BeLOW LeFT: 817 Squadron Sea King SHARK 22 lands on ‘One Spot’ on the forecastle of HMAS Kanimbla in preparation for
arrival in Pearl Harbor to commence Exercise RIMPAC 2010. BeLOW MIDDLe: Aerial photograph of HMAS Kanimbla conducting a Replenishment at sea (RAS) with USNS Guadalupe (centre) and USS
Bonhomme Richard (outer) during Exercise RIMPAC sea phase 2010. BeLOW RIgHT: Able Seaman (AB) Clearance Diver Thomas Buchanan, from Australian Clearance Diving Team 1, is assisted by his
team mates as he prepares to dive off the coast of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for RIMPAC 2010.
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