Twenty-five nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, 17 land forces, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel participated in the latest RIMPAC exercise. Nations represented included Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Republic of Korea, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.
And the Coast Guard was there. USCGC Bertholf even headed one of the Task Groups. But I have yet to see any stories from the Coast Guard about Coast Guard participation.
Consequently there is not a lot I can say about what the Coast Guard did. Can’t help but think this was a missed opportunity.
All we seem to have are Navy photographs with their captions.
The Sinking Exercises
One of the highlights of RIMPAC is always the ability to test ordnance against an actual ship in a Sink-EX. This time there were two target ships, the former USS Racine (LST-1191) and a frigate, the former USS McClusky (FFG 41).
The Racine Sink-EX
This RIMPAC was a bit unusual, in that US Army and Japanese ground units participated in the Racine Sink-EX.
Using targeting from a US Army Gray Eagle drone and AH-64E team, the former Racine was hit by four Japan Ground Self Defense Force surface to surface missiles, a Naval Strike Missile fired from a US Army vehicle with a Palletized Load System (PLS), five HIMAR artillery rockets were fired (no indication how many hits), a Harpoon missile fired by an Australian P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, and another Harpoon and a torpedo from a US submarine.
The McClusky Sink-EX
We don’t have a video of the McClusky Sink-EX. An early report indicated that she was sunk by fire from “from a ship and an aircraft.”
Subsequently we learned that the Singapore Navy, presumably RSS Tenacious (71) which has space for up to 24 Harpoons, fired two Harpoons at the decommissioned FFG and that unlike most Harpoon strikes, these hit at the waterline, causing the ship to sink earlier than expected. (Really I think all anti-ship cruise missiles should be programmed to strike the waterline–perhaps a terminal dive. Usually their detonations let in air rather than water, damaging the target rather than sinking it.)
“In all, six Harpoons were successfully shot between the two SINKEX events, according to manufacturer Boeing.”
I presume this means two surface launched by the Singapore Navy and two air launched against the FFG and one sub launched and one air launched by the Australian P-8 against the LST.
An Air Force launched LRASM was originally planned to be used against Racine, but I have seen no indication one was launched during the exercise.
The Naval Institute reported on a new RIMPAC program, the “Innovation Fair.” While apparently it included a lot of high-tech presentations; it was a simple low-tech “why didn’t I think of that” good idea that won the prize, and it looks like something the Coast Guard could use, a floating and reflective damage control (DC) bag.