10 Asean nations launch first drill with US Navy
Naval officers from Asean nations will join the US Navy in their first-ever joint military drill, in a fresh attempt to counter security threats in Southeast Asian waters.
The five-day Asean-US maritime exercise will begin on Sept 2 in areas located off the Cape of Ca Mao in Vietnam, according to a press release from the Ministry of Defence.
Thai Patrol Squadron commander Rear Adm Somphong Nakthong will reportedly be appointed to lead the combined task force, which is dubbed the "CTF", according to an official at the ministry who asked not to be named.
Capt Matt Jerbi, chief of US Destroyer Squadron 7, will be a deputy CTF commander, according to the source.
The CTF comprises naval officers from the US and Asean navies. The force, with eight ships and two aircraft, is set to carry out both maritime and air operations during the exercise.
The participating officers will work together in a mock situation in which three "suspicious ships" are spotted in maritime waters off Southeast Asia.
They will travel from the Strait of Malacca near Malaysia and in areas close to Vietnamese shorelines.
The goal will be to practise conducting searches and detaining suspects on ships.
The CTF will work closely with a monitoring command centre called the "Changi C2 Centre" in Singapore to ensure a successful operation.
Officers believe that the exercise will pave the way to better cooperation and information exchanges protect Southeast Asia against maritime threats.