South Korean Navy sends 2 destroyers to U.S.-led RIMPAC exercise

The Republic of Korea Navy plans to send just two destroyers to a U.S.-led multinational maritime exercise slated to kick off near Hawaii in August as the biannual exercise is expected to be held in a scaled-down manner due to the new coronavirus.

The South Korean Navy will send a 7,600-ton Aegis destroyer and a 4,400-ton destroyer to the Rim of the Pacific exercise (RIMPAC) scheduled for Aug. 17-31, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

In 2018, South Korea sent a submarine, a patrol plane and some 700 troops for the exercise, along with destroyers, but such military assets will not be mobilized this year. The number of troops taking part in the exercise is also expected to be reduced.

The exercise is designed to enhance combined operational capabilities for maritime security. South Korea has participated in the event on a regular basis, dispatching warships, including the Aegis-equipped Sejong the Great destroyer.

The U.S. Navy earlier said it will minimize land and shore-based training and exclude social events onshore for this year’s exercise due to concerns over COVID-19.