The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6), Diponegoro-class corvette KRI Diponegoro (365), and Martadinata-class frigate KRI I Gusti Ngurah Rai (332) kicked off Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2021 \ in the waters and airspace of the Java Sea. In its 27th year, the CARAT series is comprised of multinational exercises, designed to enhance U.S. and partner navies’ abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. The 11-day engagement focuses on the full spectrum of naval capabilities and features cooperative evolutions that highlight the ability of U.S. and Indonesia to work together towards the common goal of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific maritime security environment.
The exercise feature complex at-sea training to demonstrate the bilateral force’s ability to work together through numerous events including divisional tactics designed to enhance communication as ships sail together in complex maneuvers. It will also consist of a tracking exercise aimed at increasing both navies’ ability to track and pursue targets through the coordinated deployment of surface ships and maritime patrol aircraft. Other focus areas include surface warfare, visit, board, search and seizure drills, mobile dive and salvage training, a gunnery exercise, maritime patrol operations, and exchanges between explosive ordnance disposal technicians.
The Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Exercise CARAT) is a series of annual bilateral military exercises conducted by the United States Pacific Fleet with several member nations of ASEAN in Southeast Asia. The Indonesian Navy has been a part of the annual CARAT series since the exercise began in 1995. Currently, the navies of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand participate. Objectives of CARAT include enhancing regional cooperation; building friendships, and strengthening professional skills. In 2010, Cambodia and Bangladesh became the first CARAT participants to join the exercise since 1995.
This year, CARAT Indonesia has resumed with safety mitigation measures after being cancelled in 2020 for the COVID-19 pandemic. As the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, functions as Expeditionary Strike Group 7’s Sea Combat Commander, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements. Under Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.