US, Malaysia kick off Maritime Training Activity Malaysia 2018

Illustration: Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, Commander, Task Force 73, and First Adm. Alias bin Baharuddin of the Royal Malaysian Navy discuss naval helicopters during an office call at Lumut Naval Base in Lumut, Malaysia as a part of MTA Malaysia 2017. Photo: US Navy

Sailors from the navies of Malaysia and the US kicked off Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2018 in Lumut, Malaysia, October 8.

As noted by the US Navy, 2018 marks a significant growth in the relationship between the US and Malaysia as both partner navies expanded their role in this year’s 24th iteration of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), 17th iteration of Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), 13th iteration of the Pacific Partnership (PP), and 26th iteration of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

Maritime exercises conducted between both partner navies are designed to address the full spectrum of maritime operations with CARAT focusing on maritime security operations (MSO), PP aimed at humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR), and SEACAT on information sharing and maritime domain awareness (MDA).

“With decades of cooperative bilateral and multilateral exercises, the US and Royal Malaysian Navy share a unique friendship built on trust and continued commitment to find more ways to interact and engage out at sea,” said Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, Commander Task Force 73. “By constantly practicing together each year, we are able to effectively sail side-by-side in any complex situation and environment allowing us to rely on each other to jointly ensure maritime stability, security and prosperity.”

MTA Malaysia involves subject matter expert exchanges across a broad range of maritime operations to include mine countermeasures, electronic and anti-air warfare, maritime domain awareness and engineering techniques. Each session is designed to facilitate discussions with specialized professionals in focus areas such as search-and-rescue of trapped victims in sunken vessels, research-and-recognition of terrorist or piracy acts, and application of math and physics concepts in diving and salvage operations.

“Royal Malaysian and US Navy defense diplomacy has been in existence for a long time and has been translated into previous bilateral exercises such as CARAT, which began in 1995,” said Captain Abd Halim bin Hj Shaari, Royal Malaysian Navy Assistant Chief Staff for Future Operations. “MTA is another initiative for both navies to work together and be on the same page in ensuring maritime security and regional stability. This will also provide the Royal Malaysian Navy a great chance to enhance their skills and capabilities beside knowledge and experience sharing between US forces.”

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