US warship conducts exercise with Sri Lanka navy
ECONOMYNEXT – A United States navy amphibious ship from the Seventh Fleet with marines on board has conducted a joint exercise with Sri Lanka’s navy, the latest event in growing naval ties between the two countries.
“The exercise allowed the ships to improve each crews’ knowledge and strengthen a wide variety of seamanship skills critical to operating throughout a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” the United States Embassy in Colombo said in a statement.
The amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) joined the Sri Lankan naval ship Suranimala, a fast missile vessel, to conduct an exercise at sea on August 28, it said.
USS Anchorage, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), had earlier called at the eastern port of Trincomalee on a scheduled port visit.
During the exercise, multiple ships sailed in formation to practice communications and maneuvering procedures, the embassy said.
In addition to the Anchorage and Suranimala, two landing craft air cushions (LCACs), one AH-1Z Cobra helicopter, and one UH-1Y Huey helicopter participated.
“The Sailors and Marines on the USS Anchorage were honored to work with our partners in the Sri Lankan navy during their port visit,” said Rear Admiral Brad Cooper, Commander of the Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet.
“The close teamwork we’ve seen in this visit, U.S.-Sri Lankan participation in multiple military exercises over the past year, and the hospital ship USNS Mercy’s visit to Trincomalee in April reflect our mutual commitment to strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Sri Lankan militaries.”
For the Sailors aboard the Anchorage, it was also a chance to improve their skills with their Sri Lankan counterparts sailing alongside, the statement said.
A part of a growing U.S.-Sri Lanka naval partnership, the at-sea exercise follows the Anchorage’s theater security cooperation exercise conducted with the Sri Lankan Navy and Navy Marines, the Sri Lankan Navy’s inaugural participation in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise that concluded August 2, as well as the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Sri Lanka, held for the first time last year.
“The Anchorage team and I had an incredible time in Trincomalee and we are proud to be serving alongside the Sri Lankan Navy,” said Captain Dennis Jacko, Commanding Officer of the USS Anchorage. “Not only do we increase our proficiency in communications, but we continue to build on a strong and lasting partnership with the Sri Lankan Navy.”
(COLOMBO, 30 August, 2018)