The final phase of the 20th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise has started at the Maura Naval Base in Brunei.
Launched in May with partner nations in South and South East Asia, CARAT is aimed at bolstering regional maritime security, navy-to-navy relationships and interoperability among participating forces.
US Navy commander rear admiral Charlie Williams said: "As our premier naval exercise rooted in longstanding cooperation at sea, CARAT Brunei provides unique opportunities to sharpen skills and work together in ways that will serve our nations and the region for many years to come."
Running until 14 November, the exercise involves a range of new events such as maritime security, search and rescue and aviation maintenance symposia ashore, in addition to shipboard helicopter operations and a simulated medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) at sea.
As part of the final phase, divers from the Japan Regional Maintenance Center will train with their Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) counterparts in hull inspection and surface-supplied breathing techniques.
Furthermore, a US Marines team from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force will carry out military operations on urban terrain training with their Royal Brunei Land Forces equivalents at the Fibua Military Operations on urbanised terrain complex.
USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) will join the Royal Brunei Navy ship, KDB Darulaman (P-08), together with respective teams and helicopters, and carry out manoeuvring and surface gunnery drills, maritime boarding scenarios, RBAF cross deck landing qualifications onboard FFG 60, and a maritime domain awareness drill, involving helicopter variants and the P-3C aircraft.
This year’s exercise series involves the US Navy and US Marine Corps, in addition to the armed forces of nine nations, including, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Republic of Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
Image: Sailors aboard the Royal Cambodian Navy Stenka-class patrol fast-attack craft during the CARAT Cambodia 2014 exercise. Photo: courtesy of mass communication specialist 2nd Class Declan Barnes.