Home Americas World’s largest naval drill to be an “at-sea-only” event due to COVID-19

World’s largest naval drill to be an “at-sea-only” event due to COVID-19

A multinational fleet sails in formation off the coast of Hawaii during the 2018 edition of the Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.

Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), an exercise hosted by the US Navy and regularly attracting upwards of 20 participating nations, will take place in the second half of August and be an at-sea-only event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hosted by the US Pacific Fleet and led by Commander, US 3rd Fleet, Vice Adm. Scott D. Conn, this biennial maritime exercise will take place in waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.

The at-sea-only construct for RIMPAC 2020 was developed to ensure the safety of all military forces participating by minimizing shore-based contingents. Commander, US Pacific Fleet crafted the modified RIMPAC plan as a way to conduct a meaningful exercise with maximum training value and minimum risk to the force, allies and partners, and the people of Hawaii.

RIMPAC 2020 is not scheduled to include social events ashore. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will be accessible for logistics support, with a minimal footprint of staff ashore for command and control, logistics, and other support functions.

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC is designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships. In 2018, 26 nations participated in and around Hawaii.

“In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that our maritime forces work together to protect vital shipping lanes and ensure freedom of navigation through international waters,” said Commander, US Pacific Fleet Adm. John Aquilino. “And we will operate safely, using prudent mitigation measures.”

This year’s exercise will include multinational anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations, and live-fire training events, among other cooperative training opportunities. Continued planning will remain flexible as Navy leaders monitor and assess evolving circumstances.

“We remain committed to and capable of safeguarding allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” said Aquilino. “The flexible approach to RIMPAC 2020 strikes the right balance between combating future adversaries and the COVID-19 threat.”