The U.S. Navy and Royal Thai Navy (RTN) spent the past 10 days conducting joint submarine knowledge exchanges and simulations at Sattahip Naval Base during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2019.
The events included subject matter expert exchanges focusing on submarine operation procedures and tactics, along with simulated, integrated watch team scenarios conducted inside the RTN submarine simulator.
“I am very pleased to see submariners from both sides learn from each other throughout several activities, from classroom training and seminars to integrating a submarine control team during tactical trainer exercises,” said Royal Thai Navy Rear Adm. Wanchai Songmetta, commander, Royal Thai Navy Submarine Squadron. “I especially appreciate the fact that submariners from COMSUBPAC (Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet) and DESRON 7 (Destroyer Squadron 7) bring with them so much valuable experience, which will be a tremendous help as Thailand is setting up a new submarine force, and I am confident that our partnership and cooperation in submarine operations will continue to grow in the future.”
According to Capt. Andrew Ring, director of submarine operations with COMSUBPAC, the goal of this year’s CARAT submarine exercises was to exchange knowledge in an effort to enhance each force’s ability to operate safely and effectively.
“We are assessing and evaluating their submarine force,” said Capt. Andrew Ring, director of submarine operations, assigned to Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC). “We are showing them how we do operations and how we’ve been doing operations in this area for decades. We are teaching them how to operate in a safe manor and are providing those lessons and procedures to benefit their submarine force.”
This is the second iteration of CARAT Thailand in which the two navies have conducted joint submarine training.
“We are trying to prepare their [Royal Thai Navy] submariners for what to expect once they are out at sea,” said Lt. Matt Ziesmer, a training coordinator assigned to DESRON 7. “We have worked with them on anti-submarine countermeasures during bilateral exercises, such as Guardian Sea, but now that they are building a submarine force, we need to help them train their watch teams to enhance their submarine capabilities.”
Guardian Sea is a bilateral exercise focusing on strengthening U.S. Navy and RTN anti-submarine warfare procedures and proficiency through symposia, planning discussions, personnel exchanges and at-sea events.
CARAT, the U.S. Navy's oldest and longest continually running regional exercise in South and Southeast Asia, strengthens partnerships between regional navies and enhances maritime security cooperation throughout the Indo-Pacific. The Royal Thai Navy has been a part of the annual CARAT series since the exercise began in 1995.
CARAT builds upon other engagements in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands including Pacific Partnership, the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission, Maritime Training Activity Malaysia, Maritime Training Activity Philippines, Pacific Griffin with Singapore and Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), which involves nearly a dozen partner nations. These engagements bring like-minded naval forces together routinely based on shared values and maritime security interests.