The US and Bangladesh armed forces have successfully completed the fifth annual exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat) Bangladesh.

The exercise saw five days of shore-based and at-sea training events. The events were designed to address shared maritime security priorities, develop relationships and improve cooperation among participating forces.

Destroyer Squadron 7 commodore captain H B Le said: "We see CARAT as one of the US Navy’s best opportunities to address shared maritime security concerns, develop relationships and enhance interoperability.

"Now in our fifth year working together, CARAT Bangladesh has become the premier engagement between our navies."

CARAT is part of a series of bilateral naval exercises between the US Navy and the armed forces of nine partner nations in South and South-East Asia.

The CARAT exercises are customised based on available assets and mutual exercise goals across a broad range of naval capabilities.

CARAT Bangladesh marked the presence of the US Navy’s Freedom-class littoral combat ship for the first time.

Le added: "Her presence was important as this was the first CARAT since 2012 that we had a US Navy ship and crew training at sea with the professional and skilled Sailors from the Bangladesh Navy."

The Bangladesh Navy sailors trained aboard Fort Worth during the sea-phase portion of CARAT and also participated in a simulated vertical replenishment (VERTREP) exercise.

"CARAT Bangladesh has become the premier engagement between our navies."

In addition, the exercise witnessed replenishment at sea (RAS) approaches between Fort Worth and two ships from the Bangladesh Navy, such as the BNS Abu Bakr (FF-15) and the BNS Bangabandhu (FF-25).

During the training, the US Navy divers and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians also trained alongside the Bangladesh Navy’s elite special warfare diving and salvage (SWADS) unit.

In addition to Bangladesh, the other CARAT partner nations include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor-Leste.

In august, the US Navy completed CARAT 2015 exercise with Malaysian Armed Forces.

Image: Sailors assigned to the USS Fort Worth attach a load during a vertical replenishment exercise as part CARAT Bangladesh 2015. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by mass communication specialist 2nd Class Joe Bishop / Released.