US, RS Navies Conclude 21st Annual CARAT Drills

The U.S. Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy completed the 21st annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore after 11 days of comprehensive training both at sea and ashore, July 24.

CARAT Singapore featured a series of dynamic training engagements including a five-day sea phase involving ships, submarines and aircraft from both countries.

Building on CARAT’s emphasis of increasing the complexity of combined scenarios each year, USN and RSN ships, submarines and aircraft operated together during joint torpedo and gunnery exercises, launched unmanned aerial vehicles, performed deck landing qualifications with embarked aircraft, and conducted concurrent simulated underway replenishments with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Pecos (T-AO 197).

The RSN’s Formidable-class frigate RSS Supreme (73), Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) S-70B Seahawk helicopter and the USN’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopter took part in the successful combined torpedo firing exercise July 22.

The highlight of this year’s exercise was the inaugural use of unmanned aircraft systems. The MQ-8B Fire Scout, embarked on the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), and the RSN’s Scan Eagle UAV operated in the joint environment, demonstrating the value of unmanned platforms in providing an enhanced maritime domain awareness picture for the afloat task group.

Additionally, Fort Worth conducted deck landing qualifications during the sea phase, landing the RSAF’s S-70B on its flight deck. The DLQs on Fort Worth marked the first time a RSAF landed on board a LCS, showcasing the versatility of the rotary wing assets.

Shore-based training included visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) drills, military law enforcement expert exchanges, medical culinary and aviation exchanges, and a community service project. Sailors from the USN and RSN coastal riverine teams also conducted advanced small-boat training and boarding drills.

Following CARAT Singapore, additional bilateral phases of CARAT will occur from July through November 2015 with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

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Image: US Navy