Peter Gordon MacKay, the Minister of National Defence in the Cabinet of Canada will today visit the Canadian Armed Forces contingent which is taking part in the 2012 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.RIMPAC, which is a biennial military drill, is the largest military exercise in the world. The current edition is being attended by a total of 25,000 soldiers from 22 nations, including 1,400 from Canada.
Meanwhile MacKay told the media reporters earlier that the RIMPAC 12 is a great learning opportunity for the members of the Canadian Armed Forces. He said that the exercise can enhance their leadership qualities, and their ability to work in cooperation with servicemen from the other allied nations. He also said that exercises like the RIMPAC will help the Canadian forces to adjust to their overseas deployments, like the current mission with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
A total of 1,400 servicemen from the Canadian armed forces are taking part in the RIMPAC-12, which is currently ongoing in the American territory of Hawaii. In addition to the personnel, a total of 42 naval vessels including the American aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, and more than 200 aircrafts are taking part in the exercise.
Apart from the US and Canada, nations like Australia, Russia, India and the UK are also taking part in the exercises. The Russian Armed Forces are participating in the RIMPAC for the first time ever. Russian Udaloy-class destroyer RFS Admiral Panteleyev is participating in the exercise, along with two other Russian naval vessels –RFS Fotiy Krylov and RFS Irkut.
A number of aircrafts from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and four vessels from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) are taking part in the exercises. The RCN vessels are – Iroquois-class destroyer HMCS Algonquin, Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ottawa, long-range hunter-killer (SSK) submarine HMCS Victoria and the Kingston-class coastal defence vessel HMCS Yellowknife.
The major military drills conducted as a part of the exercise includes live-fire exercises, amphibious landings, mid sea ship boarding, and diving operations. For the first time in the history of RIMPAC, key commanding posts are given to non-American servicemen. Rear Admiral Ron Lloyd of the RCN occupies the post of Deputy Commander of the Combined Task Force in RIMPAC 12.