HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — There wasn’t much going on outside the state’s namesake submarine, the USS Hawaii, at pierside Thursday, but inside was a beehive of activity as the Virginia-class sub prepared to get underway for the at-sea portion of Rim of the Pacific exercises.
More than 10 sailors crowded the control room, checking workstations. Groups of sailors passed in narrow halls completing final tasks. Four large inflatable rafts – each weighing over 200 pounds – were rolled up and stuffed through a topside hatch for special operations troops.
MK-48 torpedoes – each weighing 3,520 pounds – are also loaded through one of those narrow hatches at an angle, but the Hawaii, one of five submarines participating in this year’s RIMPAC, won’t be shooting any during the exercise.
The Hawaii will be the hunter and the hunted, with nations including India, New Zealand, Canada and others looking to sharpen their anti-submarine warfare skills with ships, P-3 aircraft and helicopters.
It’s all going to start Monday and Tuesday, with nearly 50 ships heading out to sea from Pearl Harbor through the rest of the month.