In this file photo, USS Coronado (LCS 4) arrives in Langkawi, Malaysia, earlier this year for the International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Amy M. Ressler)

LUMUT, Malaysia - The U.S. and Royal Malaysian Navy kicked off Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia at Lumut Naval Base, Sept. 18.

Nearly 300 U.S. and Malaysian Sailors aboard the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4), Kasturi-class corvette KD Lekir (F26) and Lekiu-class frigate KD Lekiu (F30) are participating in the exercise.

“The U.S. and Royal Malaysian Navy maintains a close and unique partnership that continues to grow and evolve with each bilateral and multilateral exercise,” said Capt. Matthew Jerbi, deputy commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7. “MTA Malaysia is just one of many opportunities for both navies to work closely together towards cooperatively ensuring regional maritime security and stability.”

The exercise involves both an ashore and at-sea phase, demonstrating both navies’ commitment to applying learned techniques and tactics while operating together out at sea. Sailors from both navies will engage in visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) trainings, division tactics (DIVTACS) to enhance cooperative fleet maneuvers, a gunnery exercise, flight operations with the U.S. Navy’s MH-60S and Royal Malaysian Navy’s Super Lynx helicopters, and a search and rescue exercise (SAREX).

The U.S. and Royal Malaysia Navy have exercised together since 1995 with the first iteration of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). An annual exercise designed to practice maritime interdiction, maritime surveillance and visit, board, search and seizure trainings, both navies continue to be committed to enhancing mutual capabilities.

“The Royal Malaysian Navy maintains a sophisticated and professional force,” said Cmdr. Douglas Meagher, commanding officer of Coronado. “We look forward to sharing knowledge and experiences while operating side-by-side during MTA Malaysia.”

DESRON 7 has tactical control of littoral combat ships deployed to Southeast Asia in support of Task Force 73 in the execution of maritime exercises such as the CARAT, Naval Engagement Activity (NEA), MTA and Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise series with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.