CARAT addresses maritime security threats
on: November 03, 2015
| Nuri Sufri |
THE US Navy (USN) will continue to be ever present in the Southeast Asian region to address the maritime security threats. This was highlighted at the opening ceremony of the 21st annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), a joint military exercise between the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and the United States Navy (USN). The launching ceremony which was held at the Multi-National Coordination Centre (MNCC), Muara Naval Base will continue through to November 11.
The event was officiated by Rear Admiral Charlie Williams, Commander of the Task Force 73 and attended by Brigadier General (U) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sahat, RBAF Joint Force Commander and Craig Allen, US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, as well as other senior officers from RBAF and senior commanding officers of the combined task force ships from Brunei Darussalam and the United States.
In his opening remarks, Rear Admiral Charlie Williams said, “Our nations share a strong commitment to security cooperation that contributes to the stability and peace of the region.”
“We continue to benefit from our mature maritime partnership that allows us to increase the complexity of our training each year and enhance interoperability between our forces,” he added.
Speaking to the Bulletin on current maritime security issues in the region, the Commander of the Task Force 73 said, “This region has shown for many years that there is a security threat in its waters. Southeast Asia as a whole, the South China Sea in particular represents such a strategic waterway for all the maritime nations.”
“I think we share a very common mission to maintain a safe and secure maritime environment,” he added.
He explained that the CARAT exercise addresses the maritime security threats by maintaining a persistent presence in the region and in partnership with the RBN, last month’s Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) “is specifically geared to address maritime security and threats”.
He explained that the USS Lassen (DDG-82), a guided missile destroyer, which is currently being brought into this year’s CARAT exercise, has been operating in Southeast Asia for years; “sailing to international waters and flying its helicopters in international air space”.
The aim of CARAT Brunei 2015 is to strengthen maritime partnership, enhance regional cooperation and address security challenges within the region. The exercise will be participated by personnel and assets from the Royal Brunei Land Force (RBLF), Royal Brunei Navy (RBN) and Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF).
The Commander Task Group (CTG) for this exercise is led by Captain HB Le, Commodore of Destroyer Squadron 7’s (DESRON 7) from the US Navy and Commander Shamsul Bahren bin Haji Taweh from RBN, Deputy Commander Task Group (DCTG).
CARAT is a bilateral exercise series between the US Navy, US Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
In this year’s exercise, the RBAF’s Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopter will make deck landings onboard the USS Lassen, while a US Navy MH-60R helicopter will make landings on the flight deck of the Royal Brunei Ship (KDB) Darulehsan. A P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will conduct maritime domain awareness missions alongside patrol aircraft from the RBAF. Additionally, the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) will participate in a CARAT exercise for the first time during the sea phase.