PH, US, MALAYSIA TO HOLD NAVAL DRILLS

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THE Philippines, the United States and Malaysian navies will start on Saturday a coordinated multilateral training activity in the Sulu Sea to enhance inter-operability for the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat).

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“This engagement is an important milestone as we seek opportunities to increase multilateral cooperation for the Carat exercise series,” Rear Admiral Charles Williams, commander, Task Force 73, said in a statement.

“The training provides our navies with an opportunity to broaden cooperative maritime security coordination with our partner nations as we would during real world contingencies or operations,” he added.

Ships and aircraft from the US Navy will operate with separate surface action groups from Malaysia and the Philippines.

The drill will test abilities of all three navies to coordinate maritime security operations in a geographically separated environment at sea.

The Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) will operate with Royal Malaysian Navy ships during the training, while USS Ashland (LSD 49) will sail alongside ships from the Philippine Navy.

The participating ships will conduct communication drills, maritime security coordination and maritime domain awareness training.

A US Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol craft will also operate in the region and rehearse communication drills with ships and aircraft from all three nations.

“Our ability to coordinate and communicate from various operational locations allows us to enhance regional cooperation at sea. These activities benefit all nations and prepare us to work together more efficiently during crises and emergencies,” Capt. H.B. Le, Destroyer Squadron 7 commander, said.

As the premier naval engagement in South and Southeast Asia, Carat provides a regional venue to address shared maritime security priorities, enhance inter-operability among participating forces and develop key relationships that will serve partner nations for many years to come.

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