SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Navy's first littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) departed Naval Base San Diego July 9 to participate in the world's largest international maritime exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016.
Freedom will operate off the coast of Southern California and participate in mine interdiction warfare training with mine countermeasures ship USS Champion (MCM 4), amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), Royal Canadian Navy Kingston-class coastal defense vessels HMCS Yellowknife (MM 706) and HMCS Saskatoon (MM 709).
"Our goal is twofold," said Cmdr. Michael Wohnhaas, commanding officer of Freedom. "One is to prove our expeditionary mine countermeasures capability, utilizing explosive ordnance disposal divers to test a capability that may well represent the future for the LCS platform. The second is to interact with our partner nations in the interest of peace in the Pacific."
Wohnhaas also said this is a great opportunity for the LCS crew to work with and learn from fleet and international partners. RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that strengthens international maritime partnerships, enhances interoperability and improves the readiness of participating forces for a wide range of potential operations.
LCS provides flexible capabilities, because it can go places other U.S. Navy ships cannot, operating hull-to-hull with regional allies and partners and ready to provide sustained naval presence.
Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 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 that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
For more information on RIMPAC 2016, http://www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac/.
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For more information on Freedom, visit http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/lcs1/.
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