27 Jun 2006

Hawaii about to host the navies of 8 nations for military exercise

6:29 pm on 27 June 2006

More than 40 ships from eight nations are due to converge off Hawaii this week for the world's largest sea-based multinational war games.

The Rim of the Pacific exercises will involve around 19,000 troops, 160 aircraft and six submarines for exercises lasting through late July.

The troops are scheduled to start hunting submarines, engaging in the mock sinking of ships, and working with the navies of other countries on Monday.

Ships from Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, Japan, South Korea and Britain are joining the United States for the war games.

The aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, will be a centrepiece of the US involvement.

The drills come as the US military is deploying more aircraft carriers to the Pacific and is basing more submarines into the region in response to the growth of Asia-Pacific trade, and security concerns from North Korea to Taiwan.

Last week, the US military gathered three aircraft carrier strike groups off Guam for some of the largest operations it has held in the Western Pacific in decades.