The US Navy’s Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) and Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) have successfully completed the sea phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

The 27th annual exercise, CARAT, is aimed at achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific maritime security environment.

The maritime exercise was held in the territorial waters surrounding Port Hera.

It is designed to address maritime security concerns and strengthen cooperation between region navies.

CARAT exercise’s sea phase offered an opportunity to the naval forces to hone their capabilities focused on embarkation, navigation, engineering, damage control, and visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS).

Sailors from both the forces carried out flight deck firefighting training aboard USS Charleston.

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The cooperative evolutions allowed the participants to improve skills to observe and enforce maritime zones and prepare for support missions.

The CARAT Timor-Leste harbour phase will take place from 10-15 December and will include personnel from the F-FDTL, US Marine Corps (USMC) and US Navy.

USS Charleston commanding officer commander Clayton Beas said: “We’re proud to be part of the 27th annual CARAT exercise and to represent the US, showcasing the capabilities of its navy.

“With this training we can further our shared interests in maritime security.”

Assigned to DESRON 7, USS Charleston is on a rotational deployment to the US 7th Fleet area of operations.

Last month, the US and Indonesian military workforce virtually commenced CARAT 2021 Indonesia.