SINGAPORE - The 19th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore exercise concluded with a closing ceremony at Changi Naval Base, July 26.
Beginning nearly two weeks ago, the annual exercise with the Republic of Singapore consisted of shore-based and at-sea training events designed to address shared maritime security priorities, develop relationships, and enhance interoperability among the 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. As one of the original exercise partners, CARAT Singapore is among the most complex in the series and features a highly sophisticated sequence of training events across the spectrum of naval capabilities.
"Every year we try to raise the bar a bit higher during the planning process, making each successive CARAT Singapore a bit more complex," said Capt. Paul Schlise, Commander, Task Group 73.1.
This year's CARAT Singapore featured 11 days of shore-based events and a lengthy 96-hour sea phase. Shore-based training included visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) drills, military law enforcement expert exchanges and military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) training. The sea phase was a series of coordinated air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime patrol aircraft and surface warfare training scenarios led by a combined afloat staff embarked on the Singaporean frigate, RSS Intrepid (69).
"The multiple day sea phase was again the capstone course of CARAT Singapore, and given its enduring complexity, presented our Sailors, ships and aircraft with many opportunities to enhance interoperability among our forces," said Schlise.
U.S. Navy and RSN sailors conducted a simulated shipboard helicopter and small boat medical evacuation, tracked submarines from both navies during multiple anti-submarine warfare scenarios, and conducted a coordinated air-to-surface missilex in which a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Fokker 50 fired a harpoon missile against a surface target tracked by ships in the Combined Task Group.
More than 700 U.S. Sailors and Marines participated in CARAT Singapore 2013.
Participating ships included the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) and the dry cargo ammunition ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 14).
Also participating in CARAT Singapore were staff from Commander, Task Group 73.1/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron 62, a platoon of Marines from 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, as well as VBSS evaluators from Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command.