The US Navy, Marine Corps (USMC), along with the Royal Brunei Navy and Armed Forces have started the 22nd Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise.

CARAT Brunei 2016 aims to bolster maritime partnerships and enhance cooperation with the Royal Brunei Navy.

The US Navy assets are USS McCampbell (DDG 85); USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3); and Salvor, a P-8A Poseidon aircraft.

"United States deeply values our relationship with Brunei."

Staff from Commander, Task Force (CTF) 73 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7; the US seventh Fleet Band, Orient Express; and marines from the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment will participate in the exercise.

Task Force 73 commander rear admiral Don Gabrielson said: "The United States deeply values our relationship with Brunei, centred on a defence partnership that underpins our shared commitment to the peace and security of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

"Twenty-two years of CARAT solidified our relationship with the Brunei armed forces, building genuine friendships and a strong partnership based on common interests."

The CARAT exercise will feature five days of shore-based and at-sea training events and is scheduled to conclude on 18 November.

The sea phase of the exercise will see US and Brunei vessels conduct deck landing qualifications and formation ship manoeuvres with mobile diving and salvage personnel operating while being embarked aboard Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52).

While being ashore, US marines from the third Battalion, second Marine Regiment will engage in a jungle warfare exercise along with the Royal Brunei landing force (RBLF).

The exercise also offers a platform for participating nations to share and gain inputs to meet maritime security priorities such as counter-piracy, counter-smuggling, maritime interception operations, and port security.

Additionally, the nations can share best practises in search-and-rescue, military law and medicine, amphibious warfare, diving and salvage operations, and humanitarian assistance / disaster response (HADR).

The other participating nations are Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor-Leste.

Image: Personnel from USMC and Royal Brunei Armed Forces engaged during CARAT. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by MASS Communications Specialist 1st Class Micah P. Blechner/RELEASED.