On July 19, the United States and Singapore began a joint maritime exercise with an opening ceremony at Changi Naval Base.
The 22nd annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Exercise (CARAT) Singapore will involve nearly two weeks of shore-based and at-sea training engagements in multiple warfare areas. It is part of a series of bilateral naval exercises conducted by the U.S. Navy (USN) with partners and now involves nine countries in South and Southeast Asia – Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste (See: “US Eyes Expanded Military Exercises with ASEAN Navies”).
This year, a total of 700 personnel from both countries will be involved, according to a statement from Singapore’s defense ministry. CARAT Singapore 2016 will involve four ships, a submarine, a naval helicopter, a maritime patrol aircraft and fighter aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force, while the USN and United States Marine Corps are participating with three ships, a submarine and a maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. According to a statement released by Task Force 73 – the U.S. Navy task force of the Seventh Fleet which coordinates exercises for Southeast Asia – these include the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem, the Expeditionary Fast Transport ship USNS Millinocket, and a P-8 Poseidon plane.
At sea, the two sides will conduct an air defense exercise, gunnery exercise, cross-deck helicopter operations, anti-submarine warfare training, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations and complex surface warfare maneuvering tactics. Also, in a notable first for a CARAT exercise, the two navies will execute a ship anti-submarine warfare readiness/effectiveness measuring (SHAREM) exercise.
Meanwhile, interactions during the harbor phase between both countries will include professional exchanges in anti-submarine warfare, military law, aviation and medical operations.
CARAT Singapore 2016 will conclude next week on July 29.