THE Philippines and the United States navies will start on Monday the 2015 Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) aimed at enhancing the interoperability between the two forces.
The two-week exercises to be held in different areas in Palawan also seeks to strengthen both navies’ capabilities in amphibious operations, special operations, surface warfare, and modern naval warfare, enhance information sharing and promote relationship and goodwill, according to Lt. Liezl Vidallon, the public affairs officer of the Navy’s Philippine Fleet.
Vidallon said one of the highlights of the exercises is the introduction by the US Navy of the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), a small, lightweight, infrared homing surface-to-air missile.
The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), the US’ newest class of warship, will also join the exercises along with the Philippine Navy’s BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16).
Vidallon clarified that the training is not in any way connected to the rising tension in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) amid China’s massive reclamation in the disputed waterways and Beijing’s word war with US.
“It’s just an annual bilateral training conducted to enhance interoperability between the two parties. It has nothing to do with it because it is being conducted yearly,” the official said. “We are far from the disputed islands,” she added.
Also next week, the Philippines and Japan will hold navy-to-navy engagement that envisions to share new tactics, techniques, and procedures.