Participants in the 2020 Rim of the Pacific exercise taking place in late August near Hawaii engaged in a live fire exercise that sunk a decommissioned U.S. amphibious cargo ship on Aug. 30, the Navy said in a statement.
Dubbed SINKEX, the exercise “provided participating units the opportunity to gain proficiency and confidence in their weapons and systems through realistic training that could not be duplicated in simulators,” the statement reads.
To comply with Environment Protection Agency regulations, participants sunk the USS Durham (LKA-114) in at least 6,000 feet of water and at least 50 nautical miles from land, and surveys ensured neither people or marine mammals were in the area during the event.
“Simulation is a critical part of our training but there is nothing better than to conduct live fire training,” said Royal Australian Navy Capt. Phillipa Hay, commander, RIMPAC 2020 Task Force One, in the statement. “Sinking exercises are an important way to test our weapons and weapons systems in the most realistic way possible. It demonstrates as a joint force we are capable of high-end warfare.”
The Durham was a Charleston-class amphibious cargo ship commissioned in 1969 and decommissioned in 1994. It served during the Gulf War.
Today is the final day of the RIMPAC exercise, which began Aug. 17. A total of 10 nations, 22 surface ships, one submarine, and around 5,300 personnel participated — fewer than usual for RIMPAC due to COVID-19.
This is the 27th RIMPAC exercise. RIMPAC began in 1971 and is generally held every two years.
A video of the sinking is below:
MAIN PHOTO: PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 30, 2020) 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. 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. (U.S. Navy courtesy photo)