Israel has sent troops to take part in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) multinational naval exercise.
RIMPAC is led by the US Third Fleet off the coast of Hawaii and Southern California in August. It has been held every two years since the early 1970s and is considered the world’s largest maritime exercise.
The exercise, which kicked off last week and is scheduled to continue until August 4 in and near the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California, will see a total of 38 ships, including three unmanned surface vessels and four submarines, nine national land forces and more than 170 aircraft, including the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle.
This year’s exercise includes approximately 25,000 personnel from 26 nations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Drill designed to foster and sustain multinational cooperation
With the theme of RIMPAC 2022 being “Capable Adaptive Partners,” the drill has been designed to foster and sustain multinational cooperation and trust, as well as enhance the interoperability of troops who ensure the safety and security of sea lanes and oceans.
“Participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces,” the US Navy Third Fleet said in a statement. The capabilities “range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting,” it said.
The drill will see forces train on amphibious operations, gunnery, missiles, anti-submarine tactics and weapons, air-defense exercises, counter-piracy operations, mine clearance, explosive-ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.
Space and cyber operations to be drilled as well
The drill will also include space and cyber operations.
“During RIMPAC, a network of capable, adaptive partners train and operate together in order to strengthen their collective forces and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the statement said. “RIMPAC 2022 contributes to the increased interoperability, resiliency and agility needed by the Joint and Combined Force to deter and defeat aggression by major powers across all domains and levels of conflict.”
Israel's first time in RIMPAC since 2018
Israel took part in the exercise for the first time in 2018, along with 26 other nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines, 18 national land forces and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. It did not take part in RIMPAC 2020 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Israel regularly participates in naval exercises around the world and has increased the number of drills held with regional countries with its entry into CENTCOM’s area of responsibility.
In February, the Israel Navy’s Flotilla 3 and Underwater Warfare Unit took part in the US Navy-led International Maritime Exercise (IMX) alongside more than 9,000 personnel and some 50 ships from more than 60 militaries and international organizations.
Several countries that recently normalized ties with Israel took part in the drill, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain. Several others that do not have formal ties are also participating, including Bangladesh, Comoros, Djibouti, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen. Egypt and Jordan, with which Israel has established diplomatic relations, also took part in the drill.
In April, the Israel Navy participated in a large-scale exercise with its American counterparts from the US Fifth Fleet, drilling on naval combat, maritime refueling and maritime medical scenarios.
That 10-day-long bilateral drill, dubbed “Intrinsic Defender,” focused on maritime security operations, explosive-ordnance disposal, health topics and the integration of unmanned systems.