HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The world's largest international maritime exercise kicks off this week, and large vessels will be sailing to Oahu as soon as Monday.
Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, brings together dozens of nations for a "unique training opportunity" in the Pacific Ocean. The training is "designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's interconnected oceans," Navy officials say.
Some 26 nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in RIMPAC 2018, which officially starts on Thursday.
Participating countries include forces from Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.
It is a first for Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam to be participating in the exercises. The U.S. Department of Defense rescinded an invitation for China to participate in the U.S.-led exercises this year.
It's the first time China won't be invited since 2014.
This year marks the 26th exercise in the series since it began in 1971. For more information, click here.
"This robust constellation of allies and partners support sustained and favorable regional balances of power that safeguard security, prosperity and the free and open international order," Navy officials said.