Maritime forces from 23 nations are returning home after the world's largest international maritime exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014, came to an end in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.
Aimed at strengthening international maritime partnerships, interoperability and the readiness of participating forces for a wide range of potential operations, the biennial exercise involved 47 vessels, six submarines and over 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel.
Hosted by the US Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC is aimed at signifying the collaborative defence efforts required to maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region.
The exercise involved training on a wide range of capabilities, while demonstrating the fundamental flexibility of maritime forces, ranging from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complicated combating.
In addition, the drill also involved amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air-defence exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance manoeuvres, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage missions.
Navies from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway took part in the exercise.
Furthermore, the navies of Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the UK and the US also attended.
Australia deployed over 800 navy, army and air force personnel, together with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ship HMAS Success and Submarine HMAS Sheean, a rifle company from 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment and three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion aircraft.
Royal Australian Navy rear admiral Simon Cullen said: "Having men and women from the navy, army and air force command this large, multinational amphibious task group at RIMPAC has greatly expanded the depth of knowledge and experience we have, not only operating in and around large ships, such as the US Navy's amphibious assault vessels and our incoming LHDs, but also coordinating ground forces and air assets to achieve operational and humanitarian objectives."
Image: Navy vessels during the sea phase of Exercise RIMPAC 2014 off the coast of Hawaii. Photo: courtesy of the Commonwealth of Australia.