• A live Harpoon missile firing from an Australian warship.
    A live Harpoon missile firing from an Australian warship. Defence

Four RAN warships and more than 700 Defence personnel have completed Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2020 (RIMPAC), the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise.

An at-sea-only event in light of COVID-19 concerns, this year’s exercise culminated in a mid-intensity high-end warfighting activity, which followed two weeks of gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air-defence exercises.

Commander of the Australian contingent, Captain Phillipa Hay, said RIMPAC had tested and proven the Navy’s capabilities and improved its interoperability with partner nations to build security and stability in the region.

“RIMPAC was smaller this year due to the ongoing global challenge of COVID-19; however, it was no less demanding of our ships and sailors than previous years,” CAPT Hay said.

“The exercise provided the Navy with a unique training opportunity that strengthened our international maritime partnerships and relationships, and also enhanced the readiness of our Navy for a wide range of operations.

“It has been absolute privilege to be part of RIMPAC this year and see our ADF team performing marvellously, I’m very proud of everyone’s efforts and achievements.”

During the exercise, the RAN achieved a number of milestones including: the most sophisticated class of warship the RAN has ever operated, the Hobart-class Guided Missile Destroyer, HMAS Hobart, took part for the first time; HMA Ships Hobart, Stuart and Arunta successfully conducted live missile firings at sea and in company with ships from the US, Japan, Canada, the Philippines and France; and RAN MH-60R Seahawk helicopters successfully fired Hellfire missiles.

The Task Group will continue on the regional deployment participating in a number of annual exercises in South East Asia before returning to Australia.

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