The US defense ministry has shared first video footage of a sinking exercise that is traditionally performed at its largest international naval maneuver, the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).
Taking place in the Pacific Ocean off the US coast, this year’s sinking exercise used retired Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate ex-USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) as the target.
Military forces from Australia, Canada, Malaysia and the US, fired upon and sunk the decommissioned frigate on July 12, during a sinking exercise (SINKEX) to gain proficiency in tactics, targeting and live firing against a surface target at sea.
While it was not specified which missiles were used to sink the frigate, the video footage showed Malaysian frigate KD Lekir launching an Exocet missile, while Canada’s HMCS Winnipeg was seen employing 2 Harpoon missiles during the maneuver. An F-18F Super Hornet used a Paveway guided bomb, while an MH-60 Seahawk was also seen launching an AGM-114 Hellfire missile.
According to the Royal Malaysian Navy, the event marked the first launch of a live Exocet missile by one of its ships.
F-35C Lightning IIs flying from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) were also involved in the maneuver, but it is unclear what ordnance, if any, they used against the frigate.
The video also showed a Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft releasing a torpedo, which likely sealed the fate of the ship.
As is customary with all vessels used in sinking exercises, FFG 60 was put through a certified cleaning process, including removing all environmentally harmful material including trash, floatable material, mercury, fluorocarbon and petroleum.
This year’s edition of the world’s largest naval maneuver has gathered 26 nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel for drills in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The 29th exercise in the series that began in 1971 is set to conclude on August 4.