Australia’s HMAS Adelaide fills US Navy carrier ‘gap’ in RIMPAC

HMAS Adelaide beacame the centre of a war gamed attack on a Hawaii beach after the two US amphibious both ships both broke down. THE US just suffered a major embarrassment at one of the world’s biggest war games: two of its biggest warships broke down. And Australia had to carry the day.

They may not be highly publicised nuclear-powered behemoths bristling with fighter jets.

But these amphibious assault ships are just as important.

Their job is to carry troops, put them ashore while under fire — and protect them.

For that job they carry Harriers, F-35s, Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and helicopters. They also carry hovercraft and amphibious vehicles.

They were supposed to join Australia’s HMAS Adelaide — a similar ship with a similar purpose — in practising assaults on defended islands during the recent enormous RIMPAC 2018 war games off Hawaii.

It’s a relevant scenario.

China has, after all, just arbitrarily claimed most of the South and East China Seas, built artificial islands — and heavily fortified them.

But, for RIMPAC, Australia, the Philippines and were left to carry the weight for friendly forces. A landing craft, air cushion assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 launches from the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), tied up at Pearl Harbor with engine problems during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC). UNDER PRESSURE

America’s USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) spent half the war games tied up alongside a pier in Pearl Harbor. The USS Boxer (LHD-4) never arrived.

The USS Bonhomme Richard suffered a severe mechanical breakdown in its propulsion system partway through the exercise, reports the United States Naval Institute News .

On board was the commander for RIMPAC’s naval task groups, Chilean Navy Commodore Pablo Niemann Figari. He was forced to command the fleet from shore.

USS Bonhomme Richard was commissioned in 1998. It can carry 1800 troops, six Harriers, four attack helicopters, 12 Osprey tilt-rotors and four Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopters.Some of these troops and helicopters diverted to HMAS Adelaide to participate in the practice beach assault. Assault amphibious vehicles transport Marines from multiple partner nation ships during the amphibious demonstration as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. USS Boxer was commissioned in 1995. It’s built to the same design as USS Bonhomme Richard – carrying fighters, Ospreys, helicopters and landing craft to deploy its cargo of troops.It also had mechanical issues, but this time before RIMPAC got underway.“There was going to be some more amphibious operations. One of the ships we had identified had some mechanical issues, so we were not able to get her out of maintenance in time to do that. … Most of the amphibious operations turned into land training with our partner nations and our Marines there at (California’s Camp) Pendleton,” 3rd Fleet commander Vice Admiral John Alexander said.“When the amphibious ship couldn’t get underway, Brazil decided they didn’t want to participate.” Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion (Amphibious), Royal Australian Regiment, Australian Army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Doug Pashley, addresses soldiers and marines from Australia, Japan, Malaysia, […]

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