RIMPAC sinking exercise: live fire sinks decommissioned vessel north of Kauaʻi
Live fire from Rim of the Pacific 2022 partner nation ships and aircraft sank the decommissioned ex-USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) July 12, in waters 15,000 feet deep, 50 nautical miles north of Kauaʻi.
Units from Australia, Canada, Malaysia and the US participated in the sinking exercise also known as SINKEX to gain proficiency in tactics, targeting and live firing against a surface target at sea.
“The SINKEX was a professionally enriching experience for the crew of KD Lekir,” said Adm. Mohd Reza Mohd Sany, Chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy. “These events provide an excellent platform toward enhancing interoperability amongst the participating navies.”
Live-fire events provide realistic training that refine partner nations’ abilities to plan, communicate and conduct complex maritime operations such as precision and long-range strike capabilities.
“This exercise provided a great opportunity for the extremely talented sailors, soldiers, and aviators who comprise the RIMPAC 2022 team to hone their skills in a live-fire setting,” said Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Christopher Robinson, deputy commander of the RIMPAC Combined Task Force. “There is nothing that really replaces the training value of opportunities such as this, which enable us to test our weapons and their associated combat systems with as much realism as possible. These live fire exercises are vital for maintaining our proficiencies, building our interoperability, and increasing our readiness for future operations.”
Former Navy vessels used in SINKEXs are prepared in compliance with regulations prescribed and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency under a general permit the Navy holds pursuant to Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act. Each SINKEX is required to sink the hulk in at least 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) of water and at least 50 nautical miles from land. RIMPAC reports that surveys are conducted to ensure that humans and marine mammals are not in an area where they could be harmed during the event.
“The coordinated firing of anti-ship munitions is a complex activity. This SINKEX demonstrates the interchangeability of the capable and adaptive RIMPAC partners,” said Royal Australian Navy Commodore Paul O’Grady, commander of the RIMPAC maritime forces component. “In doing so, significant measures were taken to protect the maritime training environment.”
Prior to the vessel being transported for participation in a SINKEX, each vessel is put through a cleaning process, including the removal of all polychlorinated biphenyls, transformers and large capacitors, all small capacitors to the greatest extent practical, trash, floatable materials, mercury or fluorocarbon-containing materials and readily detachable solid PCB items. Petroleum is also cleaned from tanks, piping and reservoirs.
Ex-Rodney M. Davis was the first ship to bear the name of the United States Marine Corps sergeant who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor after being mortally wounded in the Vietnam War. The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate was commissioned on May 9, 1987, and conducted multiple joint operations with embarked Coast Guard law enforcement detachments, disrupting illegal human trafficking and drug routes. The ship was decommissioned on Jan. 23, 2015.
Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft, more than 30 unmanned systems and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.