Asia Defense

US, Indonesia Kick Off Naval Exercise to Boost Maritime Cooperation

CARAT Indonesia 2015 begins.

US, Indonesia Kick Off Naval Exercise to Boost Maritime Cooperation

CARAT Indonesia 2010.

Credit: US Navy Photo

On August 3, the United States and Indonesia kicked off a series of bilateral naval exercises to boost their maritime partnership.

The 21st annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia will go on for a week on the ground in Surabaya and in the waters and airspace of the Java and Bali Seas. More than 1,000 U.S. military members will participate in CARAT Indonesia 2015, along with counterparts from the Indonesian Navy and Marines – known as Tentera Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL).

According to a U.S. Navy statement seen by The Diplomat, CARAT Indonesia 2015 will feature simultaneous amphibious landings, surface and anti-submarine warfare, visit, board, search and seizure demonstrations, mobile dive and salvage training, coastal riverine operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, a gunnery exercise, and an anti-air warfare missile live fire training exercise. Numerous civil action projects, aviation maintenance, sports exchanges, military law, and submarine warfare symposia will take place during the shore phase of the exercise.

“The diverse platforms and capabilities featured in this exercise will enable us to rehearse high-end tactical and integrated warfare scenarios in a realistic training environment both at sea and shore,” Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander of Task Force 73, a U.S. Navy task force of the Seventh Fleet which coordinates bilateral exercises for Southeast Asia, said.

As I have noted previously, CARAT Indonesia is part of a set of annual bilateral exercises that the United States conducts with nine partner navies from South and Southeast Asia focused on maritime security – Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste (See: “US Eyes Expanded Military Exercises with ASEAN Navies”). Indonesia has been part of CARAT since the exercise series first began in 1995. The longstanding partnership has led to both enhanced bilateral cooperation between two armed forces as well as an increased complexity in the exercises themselves.

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“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 both traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges,” said Lt. Arlo Abrahamson, U.S. Navy spokesman for Task Force 73.

CARAT Indonesia 2015 runs until August 10. Following that, additional bilateral CARAT exercises will occur for the rest of the year with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand. Earlier this year, exercises were completed with Singapore and East Timor (See: “US, Singapore Launch Maritime Warfare Exercise” and “US Navy Boosts Defense Ties with East Timor in Maritime Exercise“).