WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy and 26 partners and allies have concluded a final planning conference for this year’s Rim of the Pacific exercise, the largest international maritime exercise.

The biennial RIMPAC exercise was scaled down in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The event is meant to convene navies and armed forces from the Pacific region as well as others interested in operating in the area. It includes anti-submarine warfare exercises, amphibious operations, humanitarian assistance training, missile shots, ground forces drills and much more, with a focus on interoperability among forces that might work together in the future.

U.S. 3rd Fleet hosted the final planning conference this week at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, where about 1,000 personnel from 27 nations reviewed the exercise plan.

“This conference represents one of the last steps to making this exercise a reality and is the perfect opportunity here in Hawaii to allow participants the opportunity to see where we will all be operating in July,” RIMPAC Coordinator Royal Australian Navy Lt. Cmdr. James Dobson said in a U.S. Navy news release. “The level of teamwork, planning and cooperation between participants has been fantastic, ensuring that this exercise will be executed safely and professionally.”

The exercise will take place in July and August in and around Hawaii.

The 2020 iteration was limited to at-sea events only, whereas 2018 included extensive training ashore in Hawaii, as well as in-port meetings and cultural exchanges at Pearl Harbor. 2018′s exercise also included a Southern California portion in a bid to attract additional participants from Pacific-facing Central and South American nations.

The news release notes the 2022 iteration will look more like 2018 in size and scale, but will have COVID-19 mitigation measures in place.

Though subject to change, the plan includes 41 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and nearly 25,000 personnel from 27 countries.

“For an exercise this massive, everyone needs to be on the same page, and that’s what we’ve accomplished here this week,” Royal Canadian Navy Commodore Christopher Robinson, deputy commander of RIMPAC 2022 Combined Task Force, said in the news release. “Seeing all the leaders and staff members of these participating nations come together like this is truly inspiring.”

Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.

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