The US Navy Marine Corps (USMC), and the Republic of Singapore Armed Forces have commenced the 22nd annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise.

The exercise is part of a series of bilateral naval exercises between the US navy, USMC and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor-Leste.

CARAT Singapore 2016 will feature both sea and shore phases, which are designed to promote interoperability between participating nations, and to refine maritime operations and tactics.

"22 years of CARAT engagements have fostered trust and confidence among our sailors and our navies."

Western Pacific / Task Force 73 Logistics group commander rear admiral Brian Hurley said: "The Republic of Singapore navy is a capable and respected maritime partner that shares our commitment to the peace and security of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

"22 years of CARAT engagements have fostered trust and confidence among our sailors and our navies that allows us to train and operate together in a very complex manner and increase our combined readiness and capabilities."

The sea phase will see the US navy and the Singapore navy conduct air defence exercises; gunnery exercises; cross-deck helicopter operations; anti-submarine warfare training; visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) operations; and complex surface warfare manoeuvring tactics.

The two navies will also conduct a ship anti-submarine warfare readiness / effectiveness measuring (SHAREM) exercise for the first time during a CARAT exercise.

SHAREM will assess the ability of surface ships and aircraft in detecting and tracking submarines.

The shore phase of the exercise will include professional exchanges of practises and procedure between the two armed forces in the fields of anti-submarine warfare, military law, aviation, and medical operations.

Image: US Navy sailors and RSN personnel in action during CARAT 2015. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gregory A. Harden II/Released.