CARAT 2018 kicks off in Indonesia

Naval forces from the US and Indonesia have commenced the 24th Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise.

USS Rushmore. US Navy file photo

The exercise began with the arrival of the dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) with elements from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Jakarta on August 10.

As informed, the US sailors and marines will engage with Indonesian counterparts in at-sea and ashore exercises designed to incorporate the full range of maritime warfare and increase mutual capabilities while operating as an effective unified maritime force.

“With nearly 70 years of bilateral diplomatic relations, we value the long-lasting close partnership as we head into the first exercise between the US Navy and Indonesia’s newly-designated ‘First Fleet’,” Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander of Task Force 73, said.

“I believe the exercise CARAT 2018 will develop the bilateral relationship and also give a positive effect to strengthen the relationship between both navies,” Indonesian Navy Chief of Staff of First Fleet, First Admiral Heru Kusmanto, commented.

The two navies engage annually in bilateral and multilateral exercises across Southeast Asia including Pacific Partnership, the largest annual humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission, Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) involving nearly a dozen regional partners and Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo (MNEK) in its third iteration.

CARAT Indonesia 2018 will incorporate a sea phase involving a gunnery exercise (GUNNEX) to maintain Sailors’ readiness with onboard weapon systems, air defense exercise (ADEX) aimed to increase proficiency in air and missile defense and visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) exercise to increase and maintain proficiency in boarding vessels that may harbor illegal weapons and drugs.

Indonesia has been part of the CARAT exercise series since it began in 1995. After more than two decades of annual training events between the armed forces, CARAT Indonesia remains a model for cooperation that has evolved in complexity and enables both navies to refine operations and tactics in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges.