RIMPAC exercises begin

The 2008 Rim of the Pacific exercise began yesterday in Hawaiian waters and will run through July 31.

Military units from 10 countries will participate in RIMPAC — including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

RIMPAC forces include 20 U.S. Navy ships, 13 foreign ships, two Coast Guard vessels, three U.S. submarines, three foreign submarines, more than 150 U.S. and foreign aircraft, 18 other U.S. Navy and Marine Corps units, 11 foreign units and 20,000 Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Soldiers and Coastguardsmen, according to the U.S. Navy.

The RIMPAC exercise will consist of three phases.

Phase I, the Harbor Phase, will consist of planning meetings, safety briefings and sporting events.

Phase II, the Operational Phase, includes live fire exercises, missile exercises, anti-surface warfare, undersea warfare and naval maneuvers.

The final phase, the Tactical Phase, is a scenario-driven exercise and concludes with the ships’ return to Pearl Harbor.

Before the last RIMPAC exercises off Kaua‘i in 2006, a federal court judge in California issued a temporary restraining order against the use of active sonar.

Six days later, the order was lifted after the Navy agreed to not use mid-frequency sonar and to not use sonar within 25 nautical miles of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument.

RIMPAC has been conducted since 1971.


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