US-led maritime exercise a multilateral, collaborative effort: Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen

International navy ships assemble for a photo off the coast of Hawaii during the Rim of Pacific Exercise 2018 on July 26, 2018.
International navy ships assemble for a photo off the coast of Hawaii during the Rim of Pacific Exercise 2018 on July 26, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

Exercise Rim of the Pacific (Rimpac), the world's largest international maritime exercise hosted by the United States Navy, reflects US efforts to be inclusive, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in Honolulu on Thursday (Friday, Aug 2, Singapore time).

Dr Ng, who is in the Hawaiian capital for a working visit, noted that seven out of 10 Asean countries were involved in this year's exercise, with Vietnam participating for the first time. The biennial exercise is taking place in the waters off Hawaii from June 28 to Aug 3.

The maritime warfare exercise involves 25,000 personnel, 45 ships, five submarines and about 200 aircraft from 25 countries.

Said Dr Ng: "This reflects the multilateralism, it reflects the US-led initiative to be inclusive, to bring as many countries as possible to collaborate and enhance interoperability."

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has RSS Tenacious, a formidable-class frigate with an embarked Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter, involved in Rimpac.

Dr Ng noted there was "no shortage" of RSN personnel who wanted to take part in the exercise, including national servicemen.

As part of his visit, which ends on Aug 4, Dr Ng will also meet Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Philip Davidson.