05 Februari 2011
Cobra Gold Exercise in 2010 (all photos : ThaiRecon)
Malaysia will for the first time take part in the annual Cobra Gold joint military exercise this year, in which nearly 10,000 soldiers of six countries will participate, a military source said.
Cobra Gold 2011, the 30th of its kind, will be carried out between Feb 7-18 in northern Thailand under the jurisdiction of the 3rd Army Region.
The ceremony to launch the exercise will be held in Chiang Mai and co-chaired by Gen Pirun Phaewpolsong, the deputy supreme commander, and Judith Cefkin, deputy chief of mission at the United States embassy in Thailand.
A total of 9,536 soldiers of six countries will take part in the wargames -- 2,996 troops from Thailand, 5,900 from the US, 38 from Singapore, 54 from Japan, 304 from South Korea, and 13 from Malaysia.
Malaysia, formerly an observer, will join the exercise for the first time as a participant in the command post exercise (CPX).
Ten other countries will also take part in the multinational planning augmentation team (MPAT) training. They are Australia, France, Italy, Britain, China, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, India and the Philippines.
The exercise will be observed by military teams from China, India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Brunei, Russia, Mongolia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.
According to the source, this year's Cobra Gold exercise has been moved forward from April-May to February to avoid summer heat , during which some US troops always suffer heatstroke. Moreover, the US wants Thai soldiers to be free to enjoy the Songkran celebrations in April.
The US troops to take part in the exercise are from the US Pacific Command (USPACOM).
In the last part of Cobra Gold 2011 there will be a landing exercise under live fire at Sattahip in Chon Buri province by Thai and US marines. The exercise is codenamed PHIBTRAEX.
There will also be a training exercise codenamed UNDERSEAL involving Thai and US sea-air-land-underwater demolition teams.
A major exercise using live ammunition will be held at Dan Lan Hoi district of Sukhothai province in the North.
Part of the exercise will also be held in the eastern provinces of Chon Buri and Rayong as well as in the Gulf of Thailand.