U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and Republic of Singapore Navy partnered in the 26th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) maritime exercise, in international water of the South China Sea and on Changi Naval Base, Singapore, Dec. 9-14, the U.S. Navy announced.
With over a half century of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Singapore, the two countries continue to work closely together to maintain a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and secure Indo-Pacific region. CARAT Singapore 2020 underscores a shared commitment toward regional maritime security and stability.
During the virtual commander’s conference, U.S. and Singapore leaders emphasized the success of this year’s CARAT, focusing on the diverse training value of integrating small amphibious landing crafts in addition to the traditional large deck operations. Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7, addressed the mutual benefit and training opportunities of exercises like CARAT Singapore.
During the closing ceremony, Republic of Singapore Navy’s Commander Third Flotilla, Col. Ang Jeng Kai, commented on the successful completion of the exercise, and how CARAT 2020 is an extension of the stronger understanding the U.S. and Singapore navies have built over the years.
Using both integrated technology and in-person meetings on Changi Naval Base, a roundtable featuring amphibious interoperability included subject matter experts exchanging capabilities and organizational structure of U.S. and Republic of Singapore Navies amphibious operations. The discussion highlighted both exercise and future opportunities for bilateral amphibious training.
The at-sea phase took place in international water of the South China Sea with ships and aircraft from both partner militaries. The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD 25) and Singapore Endurance-class landing platform dock RSS Endurance (207) met at sea for a variety of events, to include launching of landing craft air cushions (LCACs) and fast craft utilities (FCUs), respectively. The ships practiced simultaneous launches of their aircraft, U.S. Marine Corps helicopters and a Republic of Singapore Navy drone. Additional events included search and rescue exercise, divisional tactics and maneuvering, communication drills, and a coordinated farewell sail past marking the conclusion of the sea phase.
U.S. assets participating in CARAT Singapore include staff from ESG 7, DESRON 7, USS Somerset (LPD 25), Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 LCACs, and U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters. Singapore assets include Commander Third Flotilla, RSS Endurance (207), and FCUs.