US Navy's USNS Millinocket joins exercise with Indonesia

According to information published by the U.S. Department of Defense on November 16, 2021, Military Sealift Command’s Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) took part in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia, in the Java Sea.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket (Picture source: U.S. Department of Defense)

The annual bilateral exercise included the full spectrum of naval capabilities and featured cooperative evolutions that highlight the ability of the United States and Indonesia's Navies to work together.

During the at-sea phase of the exercise, U.S. Navy assets worked with ships and aircraft from the Indonesian Navy, known as Tentera Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL) In addition to Millinocket, U.S. Navy ships and aircraft included Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 18), embarked MH-60S Seahawk helicopter of Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) Squadron 23 and a P-8A Poseidon aircraft assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72.

The afloat portion of CARAT featured complex at-sea training, including divisional tactics designed to enhance communication as ships sail together in complex maneuvers. It also consisted of a tracking exercise aimed at increasing both navies’ abilities to track and pursue targets through the coordinated deployment of surface ships and maritime patrol aircraft.

Other focus areas included surface warfare; visit, board, search and seizure drills; mobile diving and salvage training; a gunnery exercise, maritime patrol operations; and exchanges between explosive ordnance disposal technicians.

Lao believes these CARAT events provided his crew and its Indonesian counterparts an opportunity to enhance interoperability, readiness and understanding. He adds that the 11-day exercise also strengthened the longstanding relationship between the two navies.

USNS Millinocket (JHSV-3/T-EPF-3), (ex-Fortitude) is the third Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport, which is part of the United States Military Sealift Command and was built in Mobile, Alabama.

The Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport (EPF) is a United States Navy–led shipbuilding program to provide "a platform intended to support users in the Department of the Navy and Department of the Army.