US and Thai navies conclude CARAT 2017 exercise

The US Navy, the US Marine Corps (USMC) and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) have concluded this year’s annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT 2017) exercise at the Sattahip Naval Base, Thailand.

The 23rd CARAT exercise, which lasted for eight days, comprised bilateral shore-based and at sea training activities.

CARAT aims to address shared maritime security priorities, improve maritime interoperability among participating forces, and boost sustained naval partnerships with countries across the South and Southeast Asian region.

Destroyer Squadron 7 deputy commodore captain Alexis Walker said: “Over the past eight days our sailors and marines worked side-by-side with their Thai counterparts in conducting a variety of training events ashore and operations at sea.

“Through 23 years of operating together, CARAT exercises allow us to incorporate new training topics and sea-based operations each year, furthering our interoperability and joint capabilities.”

During the five-day sea phase, one of Coronado’s embarked MQ-8B Firescout autonomous helicopters conducted a shoreline flight for the first time, thereby testing the range and sensitivity of the RTN’s coastal defence radar system.

In addition, a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) simulated a fast-attack craft, which enabled the RTN vessels, HTMS Naresuan (FFG 421) and HTMS Sukhothai (FFS 442), to initiate self-defence measures.

The sea phase of CARAT 2017 included an air defence exercise, division tactics, communications exercises, a gunnery exercise, cross-deck flight operations, anti-submarine warfare operations, a photo exercise and mine warfare operations.

The ashore phase involved engineering and damage control training; legal symposia; visit, board search and seizure training; diving operations and salvage training; mine warfare training; and anti-submarine warfare training.

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