CARAT 2021 strengthens Indonesia, U.S. maritime partnership

CARAT 2021 strengthens Indonesia, U.S. maritime partnership


Indonesian and United States forces successfully worked toward the common goal of ensuring a Free and Open Indo-Pacific maritime security environment during the 2021 iteration of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise in Indonesia in November 2021.

“CARAT 2021 is a forum for military-to-military cooperation between Indonesia and the United States, especially the Indonesian Navy and United States 7th Fleet bilateral program,” said 1st Adm. Rachmad Jayadi, 2nd Fleet Command chief of staff of the Indonesian Navy, known as Tentera Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL).

“This joint exercise aims to improve the capabilities of the Navy personnel in the field of warfare capability and become a place for sharing our knowledge and enhancing the skills of naval warfare as well as interoperability in facing maritime security challenges in the two countries,” he explained.

During the 11-day engagement, the militaries participated in virtual training events and conducted complex at-sea training in the Java Sea, where they demonstrated the bilateral force’s ability to cooperate across many events. CARAT Indonesia included divisional tactics to enhance communication as the ships sailed together during maneuvers and a tracking exercise to increase the navies’ abilities to track and pursue targets through the coordinated deployment of surface ships and maritime patrol aircraft, according to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

“Strong relationships are built on trust and developed through demonstrated actions and consistent and thoughtful discourse. These strong relationships are the foundation on which security, stability and prosperity flourish,” said Capt. Tom Ogden, commodore of the U.S. Destroyer Squadron 7. “CARAT Indonesia is a perfect venue for the U.S. and Indonesia to address mutual maritime security concerns and to expand our cooperation in Southeast Asia.”

The exercise included surface warfare; visit, board, search and seizure drills; mobile dive and salvage training; a gunnery exercise; maritime patrol operations; and exchanges between explosive ordnance disposal technicians. Virtual events included dive and salvage training, aviation and information sharing, force protection, maritime domain awareness, medical best practices and a legal symposium.

U.S. Navy ships and aircraft that participated included Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson; embarked MH-60S Seahawk helicopter of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23; Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket; and a P-8A Poseidon aircraft assigned to commander, Task Force 72. (Pictured: The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson, center, Tentra Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL) Diponegoro-class corvette KRI Diponegoro, right, and TNI-AL Martadinata-class frigate KRI I Gusti Ngurah Rai, left, transit the Java Sea during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training on November 9, 2021).

“With the constantly changing dynamics in the region, I believe interoperability is very important in achieving our common goal, which is peace and stability in the region,” said Capt. Erwin F. Lao, master of USNS Millinocket.

The CARAT series, which launched in 1995, is composed of multinational exercises that enhance U.S. and partner navies’ abilities to operate together in responding to maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Indonesian Navy has participated in the annual CARAT series since its inception. Navy personnel from Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand also participate in the series and have all done so for more than a decade.
“It is a privilege to have that opportunity to train with our allies through a series of engagements like CARAT,” Lao said.