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PORT HERA, Timor-Leste - Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) and U.S. military are partnering in the 27th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) maritime exercise, virtually, on land, and in the territorial waters surrounding Port Hera, Dec. 6.
The nine-day engagement focuses on naval and land force capabilities and features cooperative evolutions that highlight the ability of the U.S. and Timor-Leste to work together toward the common goal of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“A common theme across the CARAT exercise series is the shared development of maritime capabilities in support of security, stability and prosperity throughout South and Southeast Asia,” said Capt. Tom Ogden, commodore, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7. “The United States and our CARAT partners depend on and provide security for the free flow of commerce that enables the global economy. CARAT is a demonstration of the consistent effort to build and maintain maritime capability.”
The at-sea phase will take place near Port Hera, where F-FDTL members will embark on a U.S. Navy ship for partnered training focused on building interoperability and strengthening relationships. U.S. Navy ship and aircraft include Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) and embarked MH-60S Seahawk helicopter of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21.
The at-sea training will serve to enhance F-FDTL sovereign ability to monitor and enforce maritime zones and develop personal and professional skills to support operations. The exercise will feature onboard subject matter expert exchanges on navigation, engineering and damage control, and visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS).