HAWAII – Chile’s Navy is for the first time spearheading one of the world’s biggest naval war exercise, named Rimpac. It is to hone the skills of 26 countries’ forces in a field exercise in July and August, taking place along the coast of Hawaii.
Rimpac is an important naval exercise organized by the US 3rd Fleet and unites 26 Pacific rim countries in a training exercise. This year, Chile’s Navy will lead the exercise, which aims to develop defensive and offensive strategies. Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil are the other South American parties to the exercise. For the first time, a Latin American navy will head the operation.
Commodore Pablo Niemann, who commands Chile’s contingent, told BBC Mundo: “This is the first time a Latin American navy will command Rimpac’s Maritime Component. That’s our Chilean Navy, which also was the first one to participate in this exercise.”
— RIMPAC (@RimofthePacific) July 4, 2018
According to the Navy’s website, spearheading the exercise comes as result of sustained high performance: “Since its first participation in 1996, our Navy has shown its preparation and professionalism in enduring different challenges and responsibilities.”
Previous leaders of the exercise include the USA, Canada, and Australia. So Chile as the head of the operation puts the country in front of its neighbors. Moreover, the Chilean frigate FF-07 “Almirante Lynch” will integrate in the US-American USS Carl Vinson group to develop tactical operations.
This time the Chilean marine infantry will also move a 36-soldier group of Miller Battalion to join the combined force landing group. In that regard, marine infantry sub-lieutenant Ernesto Iribarne said “having the opportunity to operate with the US Marines has meant we had to perform an extensive training process to obtain the capability of executing the necessary actions in amphibian and terrestrial combat, which fills us with pride.”
Around 25,000 personnel from 26 countries, 47 war vessels and submarines, 17 terrestrial force commandos, and over 200 warplanes participate in the exercise.