Realistic scenario drives Naval war games
NEXT MONTH, the multinational coalition "Blue" forces will try to enforce United Nations sanctions to prevent country "Orange" from overtaking country "Green."
"Blue" forces include the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Australia, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Peru, the United Kingdom and Japan.
It is part of the scenario driving this summer's Rim of the Pacific naval war games -- the 20th since 1971 -- which begin today and run through July 28.
The games will involve 35 warships, six submarines, 160 aircraft and 19,000 personnel.
The centerpiece of the U.S. armada will be the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln -- among 19 U.S. warships, three submarines, 140 aircraft and 11,500 service members participating in the war games.
It is one of the largest RIMPAC war games in recent years, and the Lingle administration estimates it will mean a $29.9 million economic boost to Hawaii's tourism industry.
Lt. Rob Lyon, 3rd Fleet spokesman, said the scenario involving fictitious Pacific countries "Green" and "Orange" is "to add realism to the exercise. These are not real countries, but it helps us since this is the type of environment that we may have to operate in the future."
In the current scenario, countries "Orange" and "Green" used to be one country. But in 1991, during the "velvet revolution," "Green" separated from "Orange." Since then, using terrorist tactics, "Orange" has tried to destabilize the political situation in "Green" so it can take it over.
"The importance of establishing peace through strength is clear. ... In this globalized world of ours, waging peace is as important as waging war, and naval forces have a critical role in waging that peace."
Adm. Gary Roughead
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet
"Green" is considered a liberal democracy without a military.
Lyon said the United Nations has ordered that "Orange" withdraw its terrorists from "Green." The U.N. also has authorized the "Blue" coalition forces -- the RIMPAC navies -- to maintain open waterways around the two countries and prevent "Orange" from sending arms and troops into "Green."
Helicopter assault landings at various Oahu military installations as well as an amphibious beach landing at Bellows Air Force Station will be part of the "Blue" forces' attempts to enforce the U.N. sanctions against "Orange."
Before the "free play" naval war games between "Orange" and "Green" begin on July 17, the U.S. and Pacific Rim naval forces will spend 10 days in waters off Oahu and Kauai in numerous exercises including live missile firings, torpedo firings, gunnery exercises, air defense, surface warfare, undersea warfare, maritime boardings, mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and amphibious operations.
Lyon said because the Japanese Constitution allows its forces only to train with U.S. ships, the four Japanese destroyers and one diesel submarine will be deployed north of Oahu for their training operations.
"The rest of the multinational forces will be in the south," Lyon said.
During the training phase, naval surface and air weapons will be used to sink the amphibious assault ship USS Belleau Wood, ammunition ship USS Mauna Kea, combat stores ship USNS Mars and a sludge removal barge.
This also is the first time the U.S. and Pacific Rim nations will be operating under a noise permit issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that restricts where warships can use sonar, to prevent possible harm to marine mammals.
The Navy said these rules only apply to this summer's naval games. The ships also have been given orders that require them to lower the power of their sonar when they come in contact with whales, dolphins and porpoises.
MULTINATIONAL FORCE SEA COMBAT COMMANDER
2 surface ships, 1 submarine, 3 aircraft
Dive Team and Infantry Company
DEPUTY RIMPAC COMMANDER
3 surface ships, 9 aircraft
Clearance Diver Team
1 surface ship
BILATERAL FORCE COMMANDER
4 surface ships, 1 submarine, 8 aircraft
2 surface ships, 1 submarine, 1 aircraft
1 surface ship
Mine Countermeasures Dive Team
1 nuclear aircraft carrier and embarked air wing, 18 surface ships, 3 submarines, 140-plus aircraft
Dive/bomb disposal teams
Kenney HQ Combined Air Ops Center
Radar plane and tanker support
Pohakuloa Training Area
1 Air-Ground Task Force (Infantry, Armor, Engineer, Artillery)
8 CH-53 helicopters
Hawaii Air National Guard: 8 F-15As
6 F-16Cs from the Colorado Air National Guard
1 cutter, boarding teams, helicopters
Thursday- next Monday: Briefings at Pearl Harbor
July 5-6: Ships leave Pearl Harbor and begin live-fire exercises. Three ships -- USS Belleau Wood, USS Mauna Kea, USNS Mars -- and a barge will be sunk by surface and air weapons.
July 17: Tactical free play involving countries "Orange" and "Green."
July 28: End of RIMPAC