In a display of their strong partnership, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) and the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN/TLDM) have successfully concluded the bilateral maritime exercise THALAY LAUT 24/2023, which took place from 2nd to 8th July 2023. The THALAY LAUT joint exercises have been instrumental in enhancing the defense capabilities of both the RTN and RMN, and this year’s exercise marks the 24th iteration of their ongoing collaboration, which began in 1981 with biennial training sessions. The latest THALAY LAUT exercise, THALAY LAUT 2023, was hosted by the Royal Malaysian Navy and conducted at the Kuantan Naval Base in Malaysia and the South China Sea. The HTMS Pattani (511) was deployed by the Royal Thai Navy and arrived at the Kuantan Naval Base on July 2, 2023. The opening ceremony took place on July 2, 2023, at the Naval Area 1 Headquarters, Kuantan Naval Base, with the participation of personnel from both navies.
The ceremony also included joint planning and problem-solving exercises to foster cooperation between the two forces. The sea phase training was held from 5th to 6th July 2023. The Royal Thai Navy’s HTMS Pattani engaged in training alongside the Malaysian Navy’s KD Gagah Samudera (271), a Gagah Samudera-class training ship, and KD Perkasa (3512), a Handalan-class attack ship. The Field Training Exercise (FTX) conducted in the South China Sea included various activities such as Fast Boat Intercept Attack Craft (FIAC), Strategic Operations Training (MANEX), Screen Exercise Training (SCREENEX), Maritime Logistics Exercise (RASAP), Boarding Exercise (BOARDEX), Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS), as well as Photo Exercise (PHOTOEX).
To further enhance the training experience, the Malaysian Navy deployed AS 555SN Fennec surface surveillance helicopters, which operated in conjunction with the Thai offshore patrol vessel HTMS Pattani, the KD Gagah Samudera training ship, and the Malaysian fast attack boat KD Perkasa, showcasing the joint capabilities of both navies. The closing ceremony took place on July 7, 2023. In addition to the military exercises, the visit to Kuantan Naval Base also featured cultural exchanges between Thailand and Malaysia, including the serving of Thai cuisine aboard the HTMS Pattani, a Malaysian art show, and a friendly football match between the two nations. On July 8, 2023, the Royal Thai Navy’s HTMS Pattani departed from Kuantan Naval Base, marking the conclusion of this bilateral exercise aimed at maintaining maritime security cooperation in the region between the Thai and Malaysian navies.
HTMS Pattani is one of two Pattani-class offshore patrol vessels currently commissioned by the Royal Thai Navy. Under a May 2002 agreement, the China State Shipbuilding Corporation built the Pattani and her sister ship HTMS Naratiwat at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai. Pattani was launched in 2004 and delivered to the Royal Thai Navy on 16 December 2005. On 9 March 2014, Pattani was deployed along with AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 in search and rescue operations of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The Gagah Samudera is a class of training ships of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN). The two ships were built jointly by Malaysia and South Korea under a shared development programme, with one ship built in South Korea and the other in Malaysia, The ships, named KD Gagah Samudera and KD Teguh Samudera are currently in service with Royal Malaysian Navy. Both are 76 meters long, have a helicopter deck and are capable of operating up to 2,500 nautical miles for up to 21 days.