Subs Participate in ASW Exercise During RIMPAC 2012
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tiffany Sivels
PEARL HARBOR – Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise provided the United States and allied nations the opportunity to enhance their collective skills through anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises June 29 through August 3.
ASW is a core war-fighting skill used to counter any potential adversary submarine threat, and is a component of a large-scale maritime operation such as RIMPAC.
“Being able to conduct multi-national ASW operations on this scale has direct benefits to any coalition operation that we might conduct in the future ,” said Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, who also serves as Commander, ASW Forces for U.S. Third Fleet. “We continue to see a steady increase in global submarine investment, with more capable submarine classes built each year in higher numbers and being acquired by an expanding number of nations.”
In this year’s exercise, nine nations have anti-submarine warfare training objectives ranging from unit level training to coordinated and theater level operations.
“ASW training for RIMPAC 2012 has been focused towards a graduated approach, beginning with briefings and instruction ashore during the harbor phase of the exercise,” said Caldwell. “This training then continues all the way through a fully integrated at-sea scenario in which commanders, their staffs, ships, aircraft and submarines all work together. ASW is a team sport that pulls together capabilities across air, surface and subsurface naval components.”
The Republic of Korea, Australia and Canada have all brought diesel-electric submarines to participate. The U.S. currently does not have diesel-electric submarines in its inventory to practice anti-submarine warfare, which makes RIMPAC a valuable avenue for real world training.
“We are extremely fortunate to have such a wide range of diesel and nuclear submarine participants,” said Caldwell. “The ability to practice anti-submarine warfare with and on the submarines was an excellent opportunity for the U.S. and allied nations. It provided us a chance to jointly work together to hone our collective capability and enhance our interoperability. This fits precisely into the theme of RIMPAC 2012 – Capable and Adaptive Partners”
Cmdr. Glen Miles, commanding officer of the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins-class submarine HMAS Farncomb added, “The U.S. has always welcomed Australian submarines to Pearl Harbor. Our host submarine, USS North Carolina, has been outstanding. Their hospitality has been overwhelming. The level of support and professionalism of the U.S. submariners is legendary, and everything we’ve seen confirms that.”
During RIMPAC 2012, command and control of ASW forces were distributed among partner nations to a greater extent than ever before.
“For example,” said Caldwell. “This is the first time that a Chilean officer will direct employment of sea combat forces, to include anti-submarine warfare assets, in support of the USS Nimitz carrier strike group.”
This year’s RIMPAC exercise includes units or personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.