The U.S. Navy and maritime forces from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) successfully completed the first ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise (AUMX), Sept. 6.
The task force headquarters, located aboard the Royal Thai Navy vessel HTMS Krabi (OPV 551), featured a multinational staff and included representatives from each ASEAN member state and the United States. Each ASEAN member state was also represented at an ashore support element in Singapore.
AUMX promotes shared commitments to maritime partnerships, security and stability in Southeast Asia. Participating nations include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.
Throughout the exercise, ASEAN member states and U.S. forces operated together under a combined task force structure, training for realistic scenarios designed to reinforce interoperability in areas such as visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), maritime domain awareness, division tactics and maritime asset tracking.
Commercial vessels, contracted by the United States, served as simulated target vessels during the VBSS portion of the exercise, which focused on countering relevant maritime threats. Teams from multiple countries worked together to board and seize the ships under a variety of realistic scenarios.
Co-led by the U.S. and Royal Thai navies, AUMX included pre-sail activities in Thailand, Singapore and Brunei, followed by a sea phase in international waters in Southeast Asia, including the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea.
In all, AUMX includes eight warships and four aircraft from seven countries, and more than a thousand personnel representing all ten ASEAN member states and the United States.
U.S. assets included the littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8), the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), three MH-60 helicopters, a P-8 Poseidon aircraft and staff assigned to DESRON 7 and CTF 73.
AUMX was first proposed at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) in 2017 and confirmed during the 12th ADMM in October 2018.