26 June 2014

20th Annual CARAT Philippines 2014 starts, US ships to dock in Subic Bay

A U.S. Navy task group comprised of ships, aircraft, Sailors and Marines will commence today (June 26) the 20th annual exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines 2014.

Five warships, including a U.S. guided-missile destroyer, and about 1,000 troops will take part in week-long CARAT exercises. Exercises will occur in several locations ashore and at sea including Subic Bay, San Antonio in Zambales, Sangley Point in Cavite City, and Ternate. The sea phase will take place in international waters west of Subic Bay.

The USS Halsey, an Arleigh Burke-class missile-guided destroyer, will dock in Subic Bay Freeport for the exercises. It will be joined by the USNS Safeguard and the USS Ashland.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz, a former US coastguard cutter, and the BRP Emilio Jacinto, a former British Royal Navy Peacock-class ship, will likewise join for the drills, along with Polish-made helicopters.

CARAT Philippines is part of a broader bilateral exercise series the U.S. Navy conducts with nine partner navies in South and Southeast Asia to address shared maritime security priorities, strengthen maritime partnerships and enhance interoperability among participating navies. The Philippines has participated since the series began in 1995, and CARAT exercises over the past two decades are clear examples of the longstanding and close U.S.-Philippines navy-to-navy relationship.

As a long-standing exercise, CARAT promotes regional maritime cooperation with many participating navies; it is not in response to current events. The 2014 CARAT series began in late May, is taking place in Malaysia now, and continues through end of year with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore and Timor-Leste. Joint planning for each phase of CARAT begins a year in advance and exercise phases take place during the same general timeframe each year.

This year’s CARAT Philippines focuses on combined operations at sea, amphibious landings, diving and salvage, and maritime patrol and reconnaissance flights. Sailors and Marines will exchange best practices and share information with their Philippine Armed Forces counterparts during multiple professional exchanges and seminars ashore. Civil action projects, community service events and band concerts will facilitate interaction with the local community. (SNL/MPD-SBMA)

Photo File of USS Halsey, expected to dock today in Subic Bay Freeport.