From the Business Mirror (Oct 5): Navy participates in US-led exercise
THE Navy is participating in a United States Navy (USN)-led multilateral exercise, codenamed Seacat (Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training)—together with the navies from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore—which began on Monday.
Exercise Seacat is a scenario-driven tracking exercise which focuses on real-time information exchange between the navy units involved; coordinated monitoring and close observation on maritime territory; tracking suspicious vessels; and eventual conduct of visit, board, search and seizure to the Seacat-controlled contact of interest or the supposed suspicious target vessel.
The “field at-sea” training is carried out in each country’s territorial waters.
In the Philippines the exercise will be conducted within the area of responsibility of Naval Forces North West, which is the West Philippine Sea area, in the vicinity off Subic Bay area, Manila and its approaches.
Cdr. Lued Lincuna, Navy Public affairs Office chief, said the exercise will see some of the command’s surface, air assets and special operations units operating with other navies, as they aim to expand information-sharing capabilities; improve interoperability among military, and law enforcement agencies in the region; and provide opportunities to participating navies to gain good working experience in a multilateral environment.
“Involved in this exercise are the two Philippine patrol vessels, air assets and members of the Naval Special Operations Group,” he said.
Also included is the high-speed USNS Millinocket (JSHV 3), which is a flexible platform that can be used to provide rapid projection of task tailored for response to a wide range of military and civilian contingencies such as non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
“Seacat 2015 also aims to enhance the Navy’s capability in its fight against transnational crimes, and other maritime threats in the region,” Lincuna said.
Last year the same exercise started in Singapore before it sailed into the maritime territories of the participating states.
Seacat, which began in 2002 under the name Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism, was renamed in 2012 exercise to expand the scope of training among regional navies and coast guards.