The US and Thai maritime forces have commenced the annual regional Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise at Sattahip Naval Base.

This marks the 25th edition of the CARAT exercise, which is designed to bolster partnerships between regional navies and enhance maritime security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

The exercise involved US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, alongside the Royal Thai Navy and Marine Corps.

CARAT started in 1995. It is the US Navy’s oldest and longest continually-running regional exercise in South and South East Asia.

The Royal Thai Navy has been participating in the annual exercise since CARAT’s inception.

Task Force 73 commander rear admiral Joey Tynch said: “Thailand is a key partner and an enduring ally. Every opportunity we have to train with our Thai partners is an investment in our relationship, as well as our capabilities.

“Over 25 years, CARAT continues to evolve and remains the premier venue for the US and partner navies to work together and address shared maritime security concerns.”

The 11-day exercise will involve onshore and at-sea training.

The sea phase of the exercise will involve surface warfare manoeuvring tactics, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) drills, mobile dive and salvage training, gunnery exercises.

In addition, forces will indulge in submarine tactics, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), and minesweeping and maritime patrol operations.

During the shore phase, personnel will take part in combat marksmanship, riverine tactics, medical training, jungle warfare.

“Thailand is a key partner and an enduring ally.”

Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard will lead a practical training exercise in visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS).

The US will be represented by staff from Commander, Task Force 73 and Commander, Destroyer Squadron 7, USS Patriot (MCM 7), USS Pioneer (MCM 9), USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52), and other units.

CARAT allows partner navies to improve operations and tactics in response to maritime security challenges.