Here's what it looks like when special operations forces launch raids from a sub

The insertion exercise was meant to improve the maritime interoperability of the forces involved

On July 12, US soldiers and sailors and foreign counterparts blew up a retired US warship roughly 60 miles north of Hawaii, bludgeoning the decommissioned USS Racine with missiles and torpedoes as a part of the Rim of the Pacific exercise, a series of drills attended by 25,000 personnel from 25 countries around the Pacific between June 27 and August 2.

A few days before, the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii carried out a much more discreet mission closer to the shores of Oahu, secreting special-operations personnel close to shore to practice a submarine-insertion maneuver that's a mainstay of naval commando raids.

Below, you can see how US special operations force troops and their counterparts from six other countries carried out a submarine-insertion exercise.

The submarine-insertion exercise on July 9 involved special-operations personnel from the US, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Peru, and Japan.

Fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii during a submarine insertion exercise with combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

RIMPAC is meant to provide training opportunities and strengthen security partnerships among Pacific countries. Four other submarines took part, in addition to 46 ships and about 200 aircraft.

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

The insertion exercise was meant to improve the maritime interoperability of the forces involved.

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

Delivering special-operations forces is one of the US Navy sub force's seven core competencies, alongside anti-sub and anti-surface warfare, strike, irregular, and mine warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, or ISR.

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

"The main purpose of RIMPAC is to bring countries together and build partnerships," said Cmdr. John C. Roussakies, commanding officer of the USS Hawaii. "Developing that interoperability is important because it's a big ocean out there, and we cannot do the job ourselves."

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

For the purposes of the drill, the Hawaii carried about 30 special-forces personnel in its reconfigured torpedo room to a departure point off the coast of Oahu.

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Once the Hawaii was where it needed to be, the special operators used the sub's lockout room — a special compartment that fills with water and equalizes to the pressure outside the hull — to exit the boat.

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

Once they were out of the sub, the personnel involved in the exercise went to work assembling rigid-hull inflatable boats, which they used to make an amphibious landing.

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

"It sounds like it should be easy, but it's a lot of work," Roussakies, the sub commander, said of the exercise.

Special operators launch a rubber raiding craft off the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

"It took five to six sailors to carry each raft onto the sub, and the vessel will be 'rocking and rolling' on the surface," Roussakies added.

Raid team members load onto the rubber boat. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

Special operators can also exit the lockout room while the sub is submerged, swimming out of the fully filled chamber into the open ocean. This gives the raid team their best chance of surprising their foe, by ensuring coastal radars don't detect the submarine's silhouette.

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

There are also specially designed miniature subs — called SEAL Delivery Vehicles — that can be attached to the hull of a larger sub and used to transport Navy SEALs and their equipment during sub-insertion missions.

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

While the US military does not disclose deployments of Navy SEALs, when the guided-missile sub USS Michigan arrived in Busan, South Korea, for a port visit in October, the sub appeared bearing pods like those used to transport SEALs.

The Navy confirmed at the time that the pods were used by Naval Special Warfare Units but did not say what they would be used for, if they would be used at all.

The special operators carrying out the insertion can also retrieve weapons and gear from a special compartment in the sub's conning tower, known as a special-forces operations box.

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Army Capt. Matthew Song, detachment commander of Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha from 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, said a dry-dock launch like the one performed during the exercise provide vital standoff distance for special-operations forces during maritime missions.

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

"For some of our partner-nation special operators, submarine evolutions like today were new," Song said. "We rehearsed the day before, and that set us up for success because they executed pretty well today."

The raid vessels motor off from the USS Hawaii. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

"At the end of the day RIMPAC is about partnerships," Song added. "Everything that we are doing is purposely designed so that we can operate together with our partners."

Multinational special operations forces participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

"The relationships we are building today are important," he said, "and we hope to maintain them so that when there is a problem, we can all come together to solve it."

Special operations forces from the US, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Peru, and Japan participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii and Ridged Hull Inflatable Boats off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, July 9, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton

Source: US Navy

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