SINGAPORE: Singapore and the US are holding the annual maritime drill Exercise CARAT - short for Singapore-US Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training - from 15 to 26 July in the South China Sea.
The Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said Exercise CARAT 2013 will focus on sharpening conventional maritime warfare capabilities such as anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine capabilities, as well as maritime air operations.
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), the United States Navy (USN) and the United States Marine Corps are participating in this year's exercise.
MINDEF said the drill will involve a total of 1,400 personnel from both countries, five ships, a submarine, a naval helicopter and seven aircraft from the RSN and RSAF as well as three ships, a submarine, a naval helicopter and an aircraft from the USN.
Exercise CARAT 2013 will also see the inaugural participation of the RSN Archer-class submarine RSS Archer and the USN Littoral Combat Ship USS Freedom.
The RSN Fleet Commander Rear-Admiral (RADM) Timothy Lo and the USN Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific RADM Thomas F Carney on Monday morning officiated at the opening ceremony of the 19th CARAT exercise at Changi Naval Base.
In his opening address, RADM Lo highlighted that Exercise CARAT has come a long way since its inception and noted the commitment of both navies to push the boundaries of exercise scope and complexity.
RADM Lo also recognised the tremendous professional value the exercise has provided to the RSN and the USN and noted its importance in bilateral relations.
"CARAT Singapore is a vital component of the growing range of RSN-USN interactions and continues to play a part in enhancing defence relations between both countries," said RADM Lo.
Conducted since 1995, this series of annual bilateral maritime exercises aims to enhance interoperability and professional cooperation between the participating forces of Singapore and the US. - CNA/xq
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