Playing a key role in the exercises is the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command, which is based at Cape Panwa, on Phuket’s east coast and is responsible for maritime security along Thailand’s entire Andaman coast. (See story here.)
At 10am, Adm Naris observed the exercises from on board the HTMS Chakri Naruebet, the flagship of the Royal Thai Navy and Thailand's first and only aircraft carrier.
The exercises today included co-ordinated responses by Royal Thai Navy forces and the Royal Thai Air Force and assault and defense weapons firing.
Four Gripen fighters and a SAAB 340 early warning and control aircraft (AEW&C) took part in the training to provide air support.
Playing the role of submarine hunter in the exercise was the frigate HTMS Chao Phraya.
At 11:40am, Adm Naris and his entourage of high-powered Naval officers took to the flight deck of the HTMS Chakri Naruebet to observe a 19 gun-salute.
In the afternoon, Adm Naris and fellow Navy superiers boarded a helicopter from the HTMS Chakri Naruebet to observe air force and coastal battle training exercises at Thai Muang, Phang Nga.
UPDATE: The US Navy revealed yesterday (April 24) that the five-day exercises are a joint US Navy and Royal Thai Navy effort dubbed “Guardian Sea.”
The five-day anti-submarine and maritime domain awareness exercise will involve cooperative evolutions designed to enhance mutual capabilities in anti-submarine warfare while also improving information sharing between the two navies.
Participating from the US Navy are the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG-97), a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine and a P-8 Poseidon aircraft specially developed by Boeing for the US Navy for conducting anti-submarine warfare (ASW).
“Guardian Sea is an increasingly sophisticated and robust exercise that enables the US Navy and Royal Thai Navy to continue working closely together and learning from each other,” said Capt Lex Walker, commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7.
“Each year, as allies, our two nations are becoming increasingly capable in mutually conducting anti-submarine warfare that ensures security and stability in the maritime domain,” he said.
The US and Royal Thai Navy will conduct subject matter expert exchanges in every aspect of anti-submarine warfare focusing on tracking submarines in a variety of conditions and concludes with evolutions designed to incorporate learned techniques shared throughout Guardian Sea, the US Navy reported. (See report here.)
“The Royal Thai Navy and US Navy continue to demonstrate a strong relationship in every aspect of maritime operations,” said Capt Anupong Taprasob, Royal Thai Navy.
“We are fully committed to further strengthening this partnership well into the future with even greater and more complex naval tactic as well as maritime security exercises each year.”
The US Navy and the Royal Thai Navy conduct numerous annually-held engagements including the bilateral and multilateral Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) which began in 1995, Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), and Cobra Gold, the Asia-Pacific’s largest multinational exercise.
“The P-8 Poseidon brings an unmatched maritime surveillance capability to a wide-spectrum of operations including anti-submarine warfare,” said Cdr Bryan Hager, commanding officer of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4.
“We will be working side-by-side with our Royal Thai Navy counterparts through each mission and look forward to gaining and sharing knowledge,” he added.