BAY OF BENGAL (NNS) – October 7, 2015 — The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) completed its first Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training (CARAT) exercise with Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal, Oct. 3.
CARAT Bangladesh 2015 is a tangible representation of the continued U.S. commitment to our security partnership and our commitment to peace, prosperity, and security in South Asia.
“The sea phase of CARAT Bangladesh was short but filled with a large number of naval warfighting core competencies that advanced our navies’ interoperability,” said Cmdr. Christopher Brown, commanding officer of Fort Worth. “Fort Worth once again proved to be an ideal platform to interact with our Bangladesh Navy partners given our size, displacement, armament, and capabilities – true hull-to-hull partners.”
Since the initial CARAT Bangladesh in 2011, steady progress has been made in increasing the complexity and scope of the bilateral engagement. The 2015 sea phase consisted of several highly complex surface warfare exercises, small boat operations, and deck landing qualifications.
“We conducted night DLQ’s [Deck Landing Qualifications] with the Bangladesh flight crew observing from the helicopter tower in order to explain to them our procedures for safely landing on the ship at night,” said Lt. Michael Chertude, operations officer assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35, Detachment 3, currently embarked on Fort Worth. “This experience will hopefully enable the Bangladesh Naval Aviation community to develop their own techniques and procedures for safely conducting night landings onboard their own ships.”
No two phases of CARAT are alike. Shore and afloat training events vary in scale, duration and complexity based on host-nation capabilities, U.S. asset availability and mutual training goals coordinated during two multiple-day planning sessions several months before exercise commencement.
“Both Fort Worth and the Bangladesh warships successfully executed a live-firing exercise utilizing their main batteries and small caliber weapon systems to engage a deployed target through a series of firing runs,” said Lt. Brett Ringo, combat systems officer aboard Fort Worth. “These interactions continue to strengthen our partnership and joint interoperability, which forges a strong bond between our two navies.”
The exercise also helps to build people-to-people relationships through social events, community service projects and professional exchanges.
“It was an awesome experience that was very informative and educational,” said Lt. Cmdr. Azizul Hakim, a helicopter pilot with the Bangladesh Navy, who participated in the professional exchanges. “It will help us with our forthcoming deck landing training immensely.”
CARAT exercises develop cooperative maritime security capabilities that support security and stability in South and Southeast Asia. These are regions that depend on the free flow of commerce through vital sea-lanes that connect them to the global economy.
The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.