Maritime forces from 23 nations are set to participate in the world's largest international maritime exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014, which starts this week in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.
Running through to 1 August, the 24th biennial event is intended to combat terrorism and piracy, and will involve around 47 vessels, six submarines and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel.
The exercise will be conducted in the Hawaiian operating area and offshore ranges, which include the joint base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Bellows Air Force Station, Pohakulao Training Area and Schofield Barracks. Some events will be held off the Southern California coast.
Hosted by the US Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC is aimed at demonstrating the collaborative defence efforts that are necessary to maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region.
A multinational task force comprising nine vessels from four nations has already arrived in Pearl Harbor, while the exercise will also involve debutants, including the People's Republic of China and Brunei, in addition to the US Naval Ship Mercy and People's Liberation Army Navy Peace Arkm, which are hospital ships.
As part of the drill, participating nations and forces will train on a wide range of capabilities, while demonstrating the intrinsic flexibility of maritime forces, which range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complicated combating.
Themed as 'capable, adaptive, partners', the drill also involves 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 will take part.
In addition, the navies of Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the UK and the US will also attend.
Image: The US Navy's amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) will participate in RIMPAC 2014. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Viramontes.