Naval forces of the US and Brunei have begun the 28th iteration of the annual maritime exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2022.

The exercise is being conducted from 24 to 31 October in Brunei.

CARAT 2022 aims to strengthen regional security cooperation, as well as maritime interoperability and partnership, among the participating forces.

The edition seeks to address a wide range of existing maritime security issues through different training scenarios that were customised based on inputs from the US and allied nations.

Furthermore, the exercise intends to promote and support the US Navy’s existing long-term commitment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations partners.

Every year, the US Navy deploys a different set of naval assets and task forces to execute the CARAT exercise.

Assets to participate in CARAT 2022 include the US Navy’s Spearhead-class vessel USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6), a P-8A aircraft from Patrol Squadron 10 (VP-10) and an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter onboard Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18).

Participation in the exercise also marks LCS 18’s rotational deployment to the US Seventh Fleet area of operations.

LCS 18 is a part of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON)-7 that is forward-deployed to promote an open and free Indo-Pacific region.

USS Charleston commander commanding officer Clay Beas said: “Bilateral exercises like these are essential to learning how our navies can operate together in times of peace and conflict to ensure regional security, stability and prosperity.”

Other participant units from the US include Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Marine Expeditionary Force, DESRON-7, Commander, Task Force (CTF)-72, CTF-73, CTF-75, as well as Seventh Fleet and CTF 71 as the lead planner for CARAT Brunei.