US Navy holds multilateral exercises with PH, SE Asian nations
The United States Navy is holding multilateral exercises with the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations this week.
The Seacat (Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training) led by the US Navy commenced on Monday, Navy public affairs chief Cdr. Lued Lincuna said.
Participating navies are Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. It will be held until Oct. 9.
“Seacat is a scenario-driven tracking exercise which focuses on real time information exchange between the units involved, coordinated monitoring and close observation on our maritime territory, tracking suspicious vessels, and eventual conduct of visit, board and search and seizure to the Seacat-controlled contact of interest of the supposed suspicious target vessel,” Lincuna said.
The exercises also aimed to enhance the Philippine Navy’s capability in its fight against transnational crimes and other maritime threats in the region, he added.
The Philippines will conduct its exercises facing the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“The exercise will be conducted within the area of responsibility of Naval Forces North West and in the vicinity off Subic Bay area, Manila, and its approaches,” Lincuna said.
The Philippine Navy will use some of its surface and air assets. It will also be participated by the elite Naval Special Operations Group.
The US Navy will use its high-speed vessel Millinocket (JSHV 3). It can be used to provide rapid projection of task tailored for response to a wide range of military and civilian contingencies such as noncombatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.
The drills are conducted amid China’s sweeping expansion in the contested South China Sea, where the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations are also claimants. Frances Mangosing/RC
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