Sea phase of CARAT-21 drill underway off Sri Lanka

The sea phase of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT-21) exercise joined by the Sri Lanka Navy, United States 7th Fleet and Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) began off Trincomalee on 26 June 2021.

This multilateral naval exercise will be held until 30 June in line with the health protocols in force to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Photo: Sri Lanka Navy

Sri Lanka Navy’s offshore patrol vessels — SLNS Sayurala and Gajabahu — took part in the sea phase of CARAT-21 held on 26 and 27 June and Sri Lanka Air Force provided Bell 212 and 412 helicopters as air assets.

The United States 7th Fleet participated in the drill with USS Charleston (LCS-18), a littoral combat ship and its shipborne helicopter. Apart from that, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon – a maritime patrol aircraft of the United States 7th Fleet took part in the air observer exercise.

On 26 June, the exercise saw Divisional Tactics (DIVTACs) and Night Steaming exercises whereas Replenishment at Sea (RAS) Approaches and Leapfrogs, Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) and Crossdeck Deck Landing Qualifications (DLQs) drills were executed the following day.

Meanwhile, the ship borne helicopter MH-60S of the USS Charleston and Bell 212 of Sri Lanka Air Force in coordination with SLNS Gajabahu carried out VERTREP exercises on 27 June, whereas the MH-60S helicopter of US Navy and Bell 412 of Sri Lanka Air Force conducted Crossdeck landings with SLNS Sayurala.

What is more, the Tracking Exercise (TRACKEX) was held on 28 and tomorrow and it will be joined by the offshore patrol vessels; SLNS Sayurala and Gajabahu, B 200 Beechcraft from Sri Lanka Air Force as well as USS Charleston and Boeing P-8A Poseidon of the United States 7th Fleet.

Further, JMSDF Ship Yuugiri (DD-153) a destroyer and a ship borne helicopter from the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force are also expected to join the sea phase of the exercise in due course.