Commander Task Force (CTF) 177 kicked off the Southern California (SOCAL) portion of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) with mine warfare training operations which run from June 27 to August 2.
CTF 177 is comprised of 26 units with approximately 1,100 personnel representing the United States, Australia, Canada, England, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand. It will conduct advanced mine warfare operations including mine countermeasure operations to support RIMPAC.
As explained, the mine warfare training operations are structured into five phases — staging and integration, force integration training, two simultaneous tactical phases, and a debrief and refurbishment period.
“The purpose of these operations is to increase capability and to build relationships with our partners,” US Navy Rear Adm. Dave Welch, commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) and the Navy’s Global Mine Warfare Commander, said.
“The training we will complete will increase capability, evaluate new and existing tactics, foster interoperability, and also provide us the opportunity to complete biennial certification of the US Navy’s deployable mine warfare battle staff,” he added.
SMWDC’s Mine Warfare Battle Staff will complete Mine Warfare Commander biennial certification following Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet’s review of training objectives met throughout the exercise.
The CTF 177 team will also conduct an assessment of mine countermeasure forces in confined waters and sea lines of communication. Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 is also slated to continue operational testing for MH-60S Seahawk Airborne Mine Countermeasure systems.
RIMPAC 2018 will also be the first time that US Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team West (MSRT-W) participates in RIMPAC SOCAL.
25 nations, 46 ships, five submarines, 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.