What is RIMPAC?

World Today

What is RIMPAC?U.S. lieutenants embark on aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan en route to Hawaii for RIMPAC 2014 (Photo/U.S. Navy)

There’s been a lot of talk lately on RIMPAC 2014 and what it means for naval cooperation for the 22 countries involved. The participation of China this year draws particular interest as it is the country’s debut in the exercises. Even so, what exactly is RIMPAC, and what do these regular exercises mean for international relations and combined efforts along the Rim of the Pacific? CCTV takes a deeper look.


MH-60S Sea Hawk participates in a helicopter training exercise off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Molokai (Photo/U.S. Navy)

The Rim of the Pacific:
The Rim of the Pacific exercise, known as RIMPAC, is the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise in warfare. RIMPAC was established  in 1971.

Each exercise now is held in even-numbered years biennially (every other year) in June and July. RIMPAC is administered by the Commander, United States Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), in conjunction with the Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Hawaii National Guard.

The exercises are held in and around the Hawaiian islands. Each edition of the exercise is organized to include new concepts, new technologies, new ships and new partners.

Participants are trained in disaster relief, maritime security,  complex war-fighting and more. This year marks the 24th exercise with RIMPAC 2014, led by Commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr.

The Objectives:
The goals of the RIMPAC exercises include:

  • Fostering and sustaining cooperative relations
  • Helping different countries’ forces work better together at sea
  • Ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security of world oceans
  • Providing a chance for sailors to work alongside different navies and ships
  • Improving participants’ skills and building trust among nations’ navies
  • Helping the armed forces increase transparency
The Chilean Navy frigate CNS Blanco Encalada at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in preparation for the RIMPAC 2014 exercise (Photo/U.S. Navy)

The Chilean Navy frigate CNS Blanco Encalada at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in preparation for the RIMPAC 2014 exercise (Photo/U.S. Navy)

The Participants:
Military forces from along the Pacific Rim are typically invited by the U.S. to participate in RIMPAC exercises. However, countries beyond the Rim have also been included.

In total, RIMPAC 2014 has the participation of 22 nations, 49 surface ships, 6 submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel.

Participating countries include:
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.

What is RIMPAC?

This year’s RIMPAC features participants from 22 nations.

RIMPAC 2014: RIMPAC 2014 will run from June 26th to August 1st and will be the largest RIMPAC ever held. The locations of this year’s exercises will consist of areas around the Hawaiian islands as well as Southern California.

First time participants in RIMPAC include Brunei and China. This year’s RIMPAC also kicks off with the first hospital ships ever to be involved in the exercise. This is also the first RIMPAC to have a Special Operations component commander.


Representatives from China watch a presentation during a RIMPAC medical orientation at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The Debut of China:
This is China’s first year to be officially involved in RIMPAC. China will have four ships take part in the exercise, including one of two hospital ships: the Peace Ark (the other being the U.S. hospital ship, Mercy).

China previously participated as an “observer” nation during RIMPAC 2012.

U.S. Navy Admiral Harry Harris Jr. at RIMPAC opening

Officers of the United States and Chinese navies appear at joint news conference opening RIMPAC, the U.S. sponsored multinational naval training exercise.

“China is going to be participating in a number of exercise events. Humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, surface gunnery. They’re going to do the kind of piracy work, the search and rescue, diving salvage, and military medicine. We’re glad that they’re here. I think that this speaks to the need, as I mentioned in my opening comments about multilateral efforts, to go after the challenges that we face, we all face in the Pacific, and I for one am pleased that China is here, and I think it speaks a lot to China, the United States, and the other 20 countries, that we are all here together to do this exercise.”

– U.S. Navy Admiral Harry Harris, Jr.