US Navy and Royal Thai Navy conduct CARAT exercise

The Royal Thai and US navies started maritime training during the 28th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise on 23 May.

Taking place in the Gulf of Thailand, the exercise highlights the US and Thailand’s cooperation to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Photo by: Royal Thai Navy

The countries demonstrate their ability to work together through numerous events, including tactics designed to enhance communication as ships sail together in complex maneuvers.

The exercise includes maritime domain awareness tracking with a P-8 aimed at increasing both navies’ ability to track and pursue targets beyond visual range, and both navies practiced helicopter cross-deck landings in addition to search and rescue training.

The at-sea phase takes place in territorial and international waters near Sattahip and Ko Samui, where US Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Jackson (LCS 6) and a P-8A Poseidon aircraft assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72 will join with ships and aircraft from the Royal Thai Navy for training focused on building interoperability and strengthening relationships.

Attached to DESRON 7, USS Jackson is on a rotational deployment in the US 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the region.

“Twenty eight years of CARAT Thailand represents the longstanding alliance between the people of Thailand and the United States,” said Cmdr. Brian Bungay, commanding officer, USS Jackson (LCS 6).

“We value these opportunities to work with the Royal Thai Navy, promoting regional security cooperation, and strengthening and enhancing our ability to work together while underway.”

Recently, the US Navy deployed MQ-8C Fire Scout from USS Jackson, which for its first operational deployment in the Indo-Pacific region.

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Royal Thai Navy ships include three frigates, HTMS Naresuan (FFG 421), HTMS Bangpakong (FFG 456), and HTMS Kraburi (FFG 457), and one aircraft, S76-B, including Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal units.

“The Royal Thai Navy considers this exercise very valuable in developing knowledge, competency, and experience for its own personnel,” said Vice Admiral Pisal Meesri, Deputy Commander-in-Chief Royal Thai Fleet. 

Beginning in 1995, CARAT builds upon other engagements in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific. Each CARAT exercise incorporated complex evolutions to increase combined operations, the navy concluded.

A few days ago, the US Navy handed over the RQ-21A unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to the Royal Thai Navy during a ceremony held in Bangkok.

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