Royal Malaysian Navy Sub-Lieutenant Chan Jun Kwan, assigned to KD Lekiu (FFG 30), displays a damage control floating bag concept developed by his crew during the RIMPAC innovation fair. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Cory Asato)

PEARL HARBOR - Six units from five countries presented their design ideas at the inaugural innovation fair during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2018 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, June 30.

Sailors from the Indian Navy stealth multi-role frigate INS Sahyadri (F49), Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Lekiu (FFG 30), Royal Australian Navy landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Adelaide (L01), Republic of Korea Navy destroyer Yulgok Yi (DDG 992), Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2 and USS Halsey (DDG 97) presented innovative concepts from the deckplates geared toward improving quality of life and increasing efficiency and unit cohesion.

“The best ideas come from the folks that use it,” said Cmdr. Brett Elko, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, and assigned to the U.S. 3rd Fleet staff. “We wanted to use the opportunity of RIMPAC, this international stage, to share ideas throughout the naval community and involve our most junior Sailors.”

Each unit presented concepts such as radio-frequency identification to locate sailors, a floating damage control bag, yoga in a shipboard environment, a shipboard food waste disposal system, and a web-enabled parking system to a panel of judges featuring representatives from the international community, deck plate leadership and a subject matter science expert from the Office of Naval Research.

“RIMPAC and the innovation fair has presented a unique opportunity for us,” said Royal Malaysian Navy Sub-lieutenant Chan Jun Kwan, assigned to KD Lekiu. “I was able to board many other nation’s naval vessels and see their damage control procedures and tools which helped me to assess the versatility of our concept on the international stage.”

The panel graded each presentation on impact, feasibility, originality and alignment with the RIMPAC theme of capable, adaptive, partners. KD Lekiu's concept of a floating damage control bag earned first place, INS Sahyadri earned second place with their concept of shipboard yoga and ROKS Yulgok Yi received an honorable mention with their concept of a shipboard waste disposal system.

“I’m glad I was able to share our concept and perspective,” said Kwan. “Our Navy has an innovation competition similar to this annually with hundreds of submissions. The problem we are trying to address affects every ship in all Navies around the world so we’re very thankful for this opportunity.”

Twenty-five nations, 46 ships, five submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 27 to Aug. 2 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security of the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Presenters during the RIMPAC innovation fair pause for a photo together at the conclusion of the inaugural event. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Cory Asato)