US Navy attack submarine joins Andaman Sea drill

US Navy photo of USS Sterett operating in South China Sea on May 11. Photo: US Navy

Ships from the U.S. and the Royal Thai Navy kicked off the joint anti-submarine and maritime domain awareness exercise Guardian Sea on May 22.

The drill is taking place in the Andaman Sea and will last until May 28.

The bilateral exercise focuses on strengthening U.S. and Royal Thai Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) procedures and proficiency through symposia, planning discussions, personnel exchanges and at-sea events.

Representing the U.S. Navy at Guardian Sea is the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104), a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine and a P-3C Orion. Staff from Commander, Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 will participate while embarked onboard U.S. ships and aircraft.

While the navy did not specify which submarine is taking part in drill, it is likely to be the USS Santa Fe. Santa Fe is currently on her Indo-Asia-Pacific deployment and her last port visit was Yokosuka, Japan, on May 11.

Participating ships from the Royal Thai Navy include the Naresuan-class frigate HTMS Taksin (FFG 422) and the Khamronsin-class corvette HTMS Long Lom (FS 533).

“Guardian Sea is an outstanding opportunity to operate at sea with our friends and partners in the Royal Thai Navy,” said Cmdr. Claudine Caluori, commanding officer, USS Sterett, DDG (104). “Our sailors gain valuable experience from these multilateral engagements, and we build on the established maritime relationships that will continue to endure long after the exercise is complete.”

“Guardian Sea is another great opportunity to operate and train at sea alongside our partners from the U.S. Navy,” said Capt. Chaksawat Saiwong, commanding officer, HTMS Naresuan. “The complexity of the training and the trust and friendship that come from our time spent at sea together ensures our alliance will remain strong into the future.”

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