A huge armada of allied ships gather for the US Navy’s RIMPAC photo op

On Thursday, July 28, 37 ships and two submarines from multinational forces took part in an impressive group sailing photo op during the annual Rim of the Pacific exercise near the Hawaiian Islands. Before the US Navy shared the impressive image, however, a Twitter user was quick to point out the cluster of Automatic Identification System (AIS) satellite tracks off Kauai and shared the results in online before official publication.

According to the US Navy, 26 nations, 38 ships, three submarines, more than 30 unmanned systems, around 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are taking part in this year’s entire RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to August 4. . Thursday’s photo shoot, also referred to as PHOTOEX, included two of those submarines and 37 of the ships after the Peruvian Navy’s BAP Almirante Guise The corvette caught fire on July 17 and was withdrawn from exercise. Online flight tracking data shared also revealed that a General Atomics MQ-9B flew overhead the armada during the display. The war zone contacted our friend Amelia Smith, or @ameliaairheart on Twitter, who first shared the satellite’s AIS tracks, to ask how she managed to spot the formation.

“A friend of mine noticed a cluster of satellite AIS tracks off Kauai, but couldn’t see what they were, and they were sort of out of order,” wrote Amelia Smith, an independent analyst specializing in in defense and military aviation. “I took a look at it with a paid VesselFinder account which allowed me to see what these satellite tracks are and saw the nice grid pattern.”

Smith also noted in his tweet that the Los Angeles USS class submarine Charlotte (SSN-766) and the Republic of Korea Navy Sohn Won-yil Shin-class submarine Dol seok (SS-082) were at one point leading the pack as the ships prepared for formation, but the submarines eventually fell back and flanked the fleet for the final snapshot. Leading the charge in the end was the US Navy Nimitz USS-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. In fact, the Twitter user @whatismoo shared a helpful graphic using the photo from the exercise, which matches Amelia Smith’s AIS plot, to detail each ship that took part in the big show.

The multinational RIMPAC 2022 PHOTOEX fleet included:

  • of the US Navy Nimitz USS-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier abraham lincoln (CVN-72)
  • of the US Navy Los Angeles USS class submarine Charlotte (SSN-766)
  • Five unspecified US Navy Arleigh Burke class destroyers
  • US Navy Arleigh Burke USS-class destroyer Gridley (DGD 101)
  • US Navy Wasp USS class landing helicopter dock Essex (DG-2)
  • US Navy Kaiser USNS-class replenishment oiler Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO-187)
  • US Navy Lewis and Clark USNS Washington Chambers-class dry freighter (T-AKE-11)
  • US Navy Ticonderoga USS-class cruiser Mobile bay (CG-53)
  • US Coast Guard Legend USCGC class cutter Dwarf (WMSL-757)
  • Republic of Korea Navy Sohn Won-yil Shin-class submarine Dol seok (SS-082)
  • Republic of Korea Navy Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin ROKS-class destroyer Munmu the Great (DDH-976)
  • Republic of Korea Navy Dokdo ROKS-class amphibious assault ship Marado (LPH-6112)
  • Republic of Korea Navy Sejong the Great ROKS-class guided missile destroyer Sejong the Great (DDG-991)
  • Royal Australian Navy Provide HMAS class replenishment oiler Provide (A195)
  • Royal Australian Navy Canberra HMAS-class helicopter landing dock Canberra (L02)
  • Royal Australian Navy Anzac HMAS-class frigate Warramunga (FFH-152)
  • Mexican Navy Newport ARM-class tank landing ship Usumacinta (A412)
  • Mexican Navy Oaxaca ARM-class offshore patrol vessel Benito Juarez (F-101)
  • Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Izumo JS-class light aircraft carrier Izumo (DDH-183)
  • Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Takanami JS-class destroyer Takanami (DD-110)
  • Royal Canadian Navy Halifax HMCS class frigate Vancouver (FFH-331)
  • Royal Canadian Navy Halifax HMCS class frigate Winnipeg (FFH-338)
  • Republic of Singapore Navy Formidable RSS-class stealth frigate Intrepid (F-69)
  • French Navy Floreal FS-class frigate Prairial (F-731)
  • Chilean Navy Condell CNS-class frigateLynch (FF-07)
  • Philippine Navy Jose Rizal BRP-class guided missile frigate Antonio Luna (FF-151)
  • Indonesian Navy Martadinata KRI-class frigate I Gusti Ngurah Rai (332)
  • Royal Malaysian Navy Kasturi KD-class corvette Lekir (F-26)
  • Royal New Zealand Navy Polar HMNZS-class sustainment vessel Aotearoa (A11)
  • Indian Navy Shivalik INS-class frigate Satpura (F48)

One of the most intriguing aspects of the PHOTOEX, however, is the line of ships on the far left of the image. In a neat queue behind the US Navy Zumwalt USS class Michael Monsoor are the service’s unmanned test vessels.

USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) arrives at Pearl Harbor for RIMPAC 2022. Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan Lavin/US Navy

Also known as Unmanned Surface Vessel Division 1, or USVDIV-1, the unit includes trimaran unmanned surface vessels (USVs) sea ​​hunter and Seahawk as well as two Ghost Fleet Overlord Offshore Support Vessels designated as Nomadic and Tidy. The Ghost Fleet Overlord program was led by the Pentagon and began in 2019. USVDIV-1 is also part of Surface Development Squadron One (SURFDEVRON), the experimental unit to which the three Zumwalt class destroyers, among other unmanned surface ships, are also affected. You can read more about SURFDEVRON in this old War Zone article here.

Ghost Fleet, however, was to focus on “integrating government-provided command and control systems and payloads and experimenting with more complex and challenging naval operations,” as explained by the Department of defense. However, earlier this year, the Navy announced that the service would take possession of all four USVs, marking the end of the Ghost Fleet program. Ghost Fleet ships are now ramping up their testing tasks with SURFDEVRON and will only continue to evolve the service’s high-end unmanned surface vehicle operations and technologies, especially now that the Navy’s Force Design 2045 plans plans for another 150 unmanned surface vehicles and submarines. vehicles in a massive modernization effort to keep pace with adversaries.

The large unmanned surface ship Tidy arrives in Pearl Harbor to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022. Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Demitrius J. Williams/US Navy

This year’s RIMPAC exercise, which is a training opportunity designed to foster and maintain international relationships among participants and help perfect interoperability, is scheduled to wrap up next Thursday. This recent PHOTOEX, in addition to the explosive sinking drills we’ve seen before, are some of the types of highlights we see during RIMPACs, as well as live-fire and counter-piracy drills to name a few. some. In today’s geopolitical realities, RIMPAC is also a clear message to China, and the remarkable coalition that can be seen floating side by side in the photo at the top of this article certainly sends a message of strength and determination to Beijing.

Contact the author: [email protected]

Jack C. Nugent