SINGAPORE - The 19th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore exercise commenced with an opening ceremony at Changi Naval Base, July 15.
Continuing through July 26, CARAT Singapore 2013 consists of 12 days of shore-based and at-sea training events designed to address shared maritime security priorities, develop relationships, and enhance interoperability among participating forces.
CARAT Singapore is part of a series of bilateral naval exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia. Training events in each CARAT phase are tailored based on available assets and mutual exercise goals across a broad range of naval capabilities.
"As I have said many times, CARAT Singapore looks a lot like a U.S. Navy Fleet training exercise off the coast of the United States," said Rear Adm. Tom Carney, commander, Task Force 73 and Commander, Naval Forces CARAT. "The training we conduct over the next two weeks put our ships, aircraft and personnel through their paces."
This year's CARAT Singapore will feature a complex series of coordinated air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime patrol aircraft and surface warfare training scenarios led by a combined afloat staff embarked on an RSN ship.
"This training complexity at sea speaks to the interoperability of our naval forces, and the value of our longstanding defense relationship, both of which support our shared interests in promoting maritime security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region," Carney said.
New events this year include a combined air-to-surface missile exercise, a medical evacuation via shipboard helicopter, and participation by the U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1). As an LCS, Freedom's capabilities and size are comparable with many RSN frigates and corvettes participating in the exercise. CARAT Singapore is also a key milestone in Freedom's maiden deployment to Southeast Asia in which the first-of-class LCS will operate alongside 7th Fleet units and regional navies during port visits, exercises and exchanges.
During the shore-phase, several professional symposia and subject matter expert exchanges will allow U.S. and Singaporean participants to share best practices and enhance cooperation. Classroom and field training events will cover military medicine, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), military law enforcement procedures, and military operations in urban terrain.
More than 700 U.S. Sailors and Marines are participating in CARAT Singapore 2013.
Participating ships include guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) with embarked Commander, Task Group 73.1 Destroyer Squadron 7 staff and USS Freedom (LCS 1) with embarked MH-60R helicopter and maritime security module.
Also participating in CARAT Singapore are a Patrol Squadron 62 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, a platoon of Marines from 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, as well as VBSS evaluators from Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command.