U.S. and Singaporean Sailors completed the at-sea portion of the 17th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore 2011 Aug. 26 following six days of underway training.
The guided missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), the fast attack submarine USS Bremerton (SSN 698), and USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) worked side by side with the Republic of Singapore (RSN) Navy ships RSS Stalwart (FFS 72), RSS Supreme (FFS 73), RSS Valiant (MCV 91), RSS Vigour (MCV 92), RSS Resolution (LST 208), and submarine RSS Conqueror to enhance cooperation and war fighting capabilities.
Ships conducted multiple live fire exercises including main gunnery events on towed aerial and surface targets. Combined forces successfully conducted a missile firing against a target drone fired from Alan Shepard.
The target drone simulated a hostile missile threat, which was quickly engaged and destroyed by a Barak missile from RSS Valiant. Tactical free-play exercises flexed the force in anti-submarine warfare, air defense, and in complex search and destroy missions against combined U.S. and RSN surface action groups.
“The tactical complexity of the exercise is a testament to how far we have come with our Singapore counterparts in interoperability. Our combined forces operated as one, at the staff and surface action group level,” said Capt. Dave Welch, Commander, Task Group 73.1.
“The rigorous schedule and ability to respond to real operations was enhanced by our flexibility and a very high degree of cooperation,” Welch added.
The entire CARAT exercise spans from Aug. 14-29 and includes professional military exchanges ashore in medical humanitarian assistance and disaster response; Visit, Board, Search and Seizure training; various symposiums and detailed staff planning events. Prior to sailing, officers and enlisted crew members were swapped between U.S. and Singapore ships to provide an opportunity to learn how each navy carries out operations at sea.
“I was given the opportunity to ride the USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54). I saw the value of the opportunity and volunteered,” said Republic of Singapore Navy Lt. Soh Guo Zhong, normally assigned to RSS Tenacious (FFS 71). “The U.S. Navy is older and larger in comparison to the Singapore Navy, which brings different perspectives. It’s been a good learning experience for me.”
Seven ships, two submarines, more than a dozen aircraft and 1,400 U.S. and Singaporean personnel participated in the underway exercises.
CARAT 2011 is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance force readiness between the U.S. and partner nations.