Live fire from ships and aircraft participating in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise sink the decommissioned amphibious cargo ship ex-USS Durham (LKA 114) August 30. Forces began firing on former USS Durham, a Charleston-class amphibious cargo vessel that was decommissioned in 1994, on Aug. 29. The hulk sank shortly after midnight local time on Aug. 30, U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesman Cmdr. John Fage told USNI News. The SINKEX rounded out this year’s RIMPAC, which was both smaller and shorter because of the coronavirus pandemic. Planners chose not to host shore events, and warfighting drills took place solely at-sea this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Jefferson City (SSN-759) launched an MK-48 torpedo for the sinking exercise (SINKEX). Aircraft from the U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37 launched a Hellfire missile, while Patrol Squadron (VP) 46 fired a Harpoon AGM-84 missile. Cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG-70) launched a Harpoon RGM-84 anti-ship missile, and destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) fired its five-inch gun. Brunei’s offshore patrol vessel KDB Darulehsan (OPV 07) launched an Exocet missile for the SINKEX. The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Stuart (FFH 153) fired its five-inch gun, while Australian helicopters launched a Hellfire missile. Canada’s Halifax-class frigate HMCS Regina (FFH 334) also launched two Harpoon missiles.
Ten nations, 22 ships, one submarine, and more than 5,300 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from August 17 to 31 at sea around the Hawaiian Islands. RIMPAC is a biennial exercise designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships, critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The exercise is a unique training platform designed to enhance interoperability and strategic maritime partnerships. RIMPAC 2020 is the 27th exercise in the series that began in 1971. RIMPAC, the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise.