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CARAT exercise helps Thailand and US expand maritime partnership

Thailand held joint naval training with the United States during the 27th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise, which took place from September 6-10.

"The exercise demonstrated the strength of our partnership and our shared commitment to ensuring a free and open maritime security environment," the US said.

In order to mitigate the risk of Covid-19, CARAT included virtual exercises and at-sea training in the Gulf of Thailand that minimised direct contact between participating forces.

“The 27th iteration of CARAT Thailand represents the longstanding partnership between the Royal Thai Government, the United States, and our like-minded allies and partners,” said Captain Tom Ogden, commander, Destroyer Squadron (Desron) 7.

“Our ability to sail our ships and operate aircraft together as a unified force in a manner that minimised Covid-19 risk is a testament to our alliance and showcased both the mutual trust between and operational capability of both our nations,” Ogden said.

CARAT exercise helps Thailand and US expand maritime partnership

The two countries demonstrated their ability to work together by practising helicopter landings and search and rescue exercises and testing communications as ships sailed together in complex manoeuvres, he added.

Tracking exercises with P-8 aircraft increased both navies’ ability to monitor and pursue targets by ship and maritime patrol aircraft. For the first time, the exercise was supported by civilian experts from the European Union’s Critical Maritime Routes Indian Ocean initiative, who hosted a virtual exchange on boarding operations in the high seas and maritime domain awareness, Ogden said.

The at-sea phase took place in territorial and international waters near Sattahip and Koh Samui, where USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and a P-8A Poseidon aircraft joined with ships and aircraft from Thailand for allied training.

CARAT exercise helps Thailand and US expand maritime partnership

Royal Thai Navy ships at-sea included the Naresuan-class frigates HTMS Naresuan (FFG 421), HTMS Taksin (FFG 422) and HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej (FFG 471).

“The Covid-19 pandemic made 2021 a challenging year because of the health restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus,” said Captain Anurak Prom-ngarm, chief of staff, Frigate Squadron 2, Royal Thai Navy during a virtual ceremony. “Despite the impediments, we still managed to successfully finish the plan which shows the hard work and professionalism we devoted to this exercise.”

CARAT exercise helps Thailand and US expand maritime partnership

Beginning in 1995, CARAT has built upon other engagements in the Indo- Pacific region. Each CARAT exercise features professional symposia and a robust at-sea phase that increases interoperability. CARAT improves a broad range of naval competencies, including search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response.

Published : September 14, 2021