USS Tortuga (LSD 46), right, steams in formation with Indonesian navy ships KRI Oswald Siahaan (CVT 354), left, and KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda (FFG 367), during a live-fire exercise in the Java Sea May 25 as part of CARAT Indonesia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jay C. Pugh)

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Three U.S. Navy ships assigned to Task Group 73.1 and two TNI-AL (Indonesian Navy) ships got underway from Jakarta May 24th to participate in the at sea phase of the 19th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia exercise.

During the at sea phase, the dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and the guided missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92) will conduct a series of maritime training events with the guided missile frigate, KRI Oswald Siahann, and the corvette, KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda. The diving and salvage ship, USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), is also underway conducting a salvage exercise and explosive ordnance disposal subject matter expert exchange with embarked U.S. Navy divers, EOD technicians and TNI-AL diving units.

CARAT Indonesia began May 21 and continues through May 29, and consists of shore and sea phases. The shore phase features medical training, military operations symposia, U.S. 7th Fleet band concerts and joint community service projects at local schools. The at-sea phase focuses on enhancing cooperation and interoperability across a broad range of naval capabilities from maritime security operations to combined operations at sea. Throughout both phases of CARAT Indonesia, Marines are conducting jungle training with their ground force counterparts, while Seabees are conducting an engineering exchange featuring concrete cloth construction.

The TNI-AL is among the original CARAT partners and has participated in the exercise series since it began in 1995.

"CARAT Indonesia 2013 is the latest chapter in a long-standing exercise series between the Indonesian and U.S. navies Designed to enhance cooperation and interoperability," said Commodore Paul Schlise, Commander Task Group 73.1. "As we work together to address shared maritime security priorities, I look forward to training with our fellow maritime professionals during what promises to be a productive and complex series of events."

The sea phase integrates a variety of naval units across warfare areas. A U.S. P-3 aircraft will support combined search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare exercises, while all ships will participate in maneuvering, gunnery and missile exercises. A maritime interdiction scenario will bring Visit, Board, Search and Seizure teams comprised of Sailors and the elite unit Kospaska to board Tortuga as a simulated target vessel.

Designed to strengthen maritime partnerships, build mutual trust and enhance interoperability, CARAT is a series of bilateral military exercises between the U.S. Navy and the Armed Forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

More than 1,000 U.S. Sailors and Marines are participating in CARAT Indonesia. Additional participants include a Marine amphibious landing force embarked on Tortuga, a VBSS team assigned to Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command (MCAST), Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five (NMCB5), divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1 (MUDSU), a training team from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5 (EODMU5), a P-3C Orion aircraft, and the U.S. Seventh Fleet Band, Orient Express.