HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday traveled to Hawaii, June 20-23, to visit participants of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC).
Gilday visited several U.S. and partner nation ships, where he spoke with Sailors and observed the ongoing exercise.
“RIMPAC is the premier international maritime exercise and the largest multinational exercise,” said Gilday. “The complex warfighting exercise in this unique training environment across all combat domains strengthens our ability to work together, hone our skills, and foster trust among nations.”
“Building interchangeability among like-minded Allies and partners demonstrates our solidarity, RIMPAC truly demonstrates the value of maritime partnership,” he added.
While on Oahu, Gilday met with U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Adm. John Aquilino and U.S. 3rd Fleet and RIMPAC 2022 Commander, Vice Adm. Michael Boyle.
Gilday also spent multiple days underway aboard ships participating in the exercise. He visited USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Izumo (DDH-183), and the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy amphibious assault ship ROKS Marado (LPH 6112), to thank Sailors, meet with leadership, and observe the exercise first-hand.
“We are joined together by like-minded navies and nations that believe the oceans need to be free and open,” Gilday explained to ROK Sailors aboard the Marado. “The global economy floats on seawater. It takes the commitment of many nations and peoples to protect our security and sustain our shared prosperity. ”
Gilday met with Commander of Combined Task Force (CTF) 176, Republic of Korea Rear Adm. Sangmin An, when he was aboard Essex. Additionally, he met with vice commander of Combined Task Force for RIMPAC, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Adm. Toshiyuki Hirata while aboard the Izumo.
“Complex combined operations drive readiness, build confidence, and enhance interoperability among a diverse and highly capable international team,” said Gilday. “We are joined in our commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Unmanned systems are being used in different ways from humanitarian assistance to high-end warfighting. This year, more than 30 experiments were planned using multiple unmanned platforms from U.S. and partner nations.
“We need to continue to put ourselves in a position where we can scale and really make unmanned assets on, below and above the sea an important part of the fleet,” said Gilday. “Unmanned systems provide Sailors with cutting edge capability now and into the future.”
He added, “It’s no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity if we want to operate in a distributed manner.”
A noteworthy first in RIMPAC is the integration of unmanned platforms, artificial intelligence capabilities, and manned-unmanned teaming concepts into Task Force operations.
“Integrating these nested unmanned technologies, in a distributed warfighting posture, during live-fire sink exercises absolutely help mature our concept of operations as well as inform our understanding of which technologies are the most combat capable,” said Gilday.
In its 28th iteration, the biennial event is the world’s largest international maritime exercise, providing a unique training opportunity to foster and sustain cooperative relationships critical to ensuring security on the world’s oceans. Capabilities exercised during RIMPAC range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting.
This year, twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, approximately 170 aircraft, and more than 25,000 personnel participated in RIMPAC.
This was Gilday’s first time attending RIMPAC as CNO.