Public Relations Office, Directorate of Joint Civil Affairs – On February 28, 2023, Thailand Chief of Defence Forces General Chalermpol Srisawasdi and U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Robert F. Godec presided over the Cobra Gold 2023 Opening Ceremony at the Royal Thai Naval Airbase, Royal Thai Air Fleet in Rayong province.
Also attending the ceremony were Ambassador of Japan to Thailand, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Thailand, Ambassador of Indonesia to Thailand, Ambassador of Malaysia to Thailand, and Ambassador of Singapore to Thailand.
The Cobra Gold exercise is the largest joint multilateral military exercise in Southeast Asia, co-hosted annually in Thailand by the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTARF) and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
This year’s exercise is the 42nd iteration with seven fully participating countries – Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, and Malaysia; three countries joining the humanitarian assistance exercise – the PRC, India, and Australia; 10 countries joining the Multinational Planning Augmentation Team (MPAT) – Bangladesh, Canada, France, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, Fiji, the United Kingdom, and Brunei; and 10 countries joining in the Combined Observer Liaison Team (COLT) – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Brazil, Pakistan, Vietnam, Germany, Sweden, the Hellenic Republic, Kuwait, and Sri Lanka.
In total, there are 30 participating countries comprising 7,394 personnel.
The objectives of the exercise are to develop good military relations between participating partners; to enhance multilateral military interoperability by preparing to mobilize in a crisis; and to review multinational standard operating procedures. This year, with a return to normalcy, the exercise is back to full-scale. However, RTARF continues to operate in line with the Thai Ministry of Public Health COVID-19 prevention measures. The exercise will be held from February 27-March 10, 2023, with the following core exercises:
The Command Post Exercise (CPX) is a total force exercise to handle all domain operations – land, sea, air, cyber, and space. The cyber exercise is a planning exercise focusing on preliminary assessment on cyber threat and cybersecurity in the infrastructure system.
This year is the first time the space exercise will be included in the joint combined operational staff planning exercise.
The exercise will foster understanding of the impacts of aerial phenomenon, such as solar storms, on military operations, communication systems, and satellites, which in turn will help the staff to prepare for these phenomena. Military and civilian space agencies from Thailand, the United States, and Japan will provide information and guidance.
The Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA) includes the construction of multipurpose buildings for schools in six training sites, and the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Tabletop Exercise (HADR-TTX) to prepare our militaries to respond to natural disasters, using regional and multilateral mechanisms. This will serve as a preparation for a HADR-Demo, which includes station-by-station operations – search and rescue, emergency response, medical evacuation, chemical leak, and firefighting – by participating countries.
The Field Training Exercise (FTX) includes Cross Training Exercise (CTX), as well as field training for the army, navy, and air forces. A highlight is the joint forcible entry operations (JFEO) consisting of the Amphibious Exercise, Strategic Airborne Operation, Noncombatant Evacuation Operation, and Combined Arms Live-Fire Exercise.
Cobra Gold 2023 increases capacity of participating troops from Thailand and allies though the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and military technologies. It increases the experience of joint and multilateral operations for the Thai and ally forces, and the capacity and efficiency of disaster management and mitigation. It also strengthens bonds between soldiers from Thailand and allies, as the local communities in the exercise locations, and builds a good image of Thailand in the eyes of our allies and the international community.
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