Navy Stages Annual Drills, Adding Live Ammunition

The Royal Cambodian Navy began a three-day test of warships and anti-aircraft rocket launchers on Monday using live ammunition for the first time in several years.

Mey Dina, deputy commander of Preah Sihanouk province’s Ream Naval Base, said that about 150 sailors would participate in the exercises running through Wednesday off the coast of Sihanoukville.

“We do the exercises in order to defend our airspace and coast,” he said.

Rear Admiral Dina said the navy had warned fishermen to steer clear of areas around Koh Russei and Koh Sompoch islands, where it was conducting exercises with five military patrol boats, and from Koh Ta Kiev island, where it was testing 37mm anti-aircraft guns.

“We will shoot from the land and also from the ships,” he said.

“We have done [the drills] every year, but we have not used real ammunition for three years because we wanted to save it.

But now we need to test it” after recent repairs.

The drills are unrelated to ongoing nine-day military exercises involving 500 Royal Cambodian Armed Force soldiers and the same number of Chinese soldiers in Kompong Speu province, the largest joint exercise between the two countries in decades.

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Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the navy testing 37mm anti-aircraft rocket launchers, which do not exist.

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