Malabar Exercise Concludes off Guam Coast

By Editor 19-Jul-2018

The trilateral maritime exercise, Malabar 2018, aimed at achieving deeper military ties between the three nations, the US, Japan, and India, has concluded off the coast of Guam. The exercise has focused on increasing maritime interoperability training objectives among the three maritime forces, emphasising high-end war fighting skills, maritime superiority, and power projection. It has been held in two phases in Guam and the Philippine Sea.

The Indian Navy has been represented by the two indigenously designed and built ships, the multi-purpose stealth frigate INS Sahyadri and Anti-Submarine Warfare corvette, INS Kamorta, Fleet Tanker INS Shakti and Long-Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I. The US Navy forces included the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan with its air wing; two Ticonderoga class cruisers, USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville; two Arleigh Burke class destroyers, USS Benfold and USS Mustin; a Los Angeles-class attack submarine and one Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8A. The JMSDF has been represented by a Hyuga class helicopter carrier JS Ise with integral helicopters; Takanami class destroyer JS Suzunami; Akizuki class destroyer JS Fuyuzuki. Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft, P1 and a submarine.

Various manoeuvres have been undertaken in rough seas and challenging weather conditions. The exercise has comprised both on shore and offshore activities which included cross deck flying operations, refuelling across ships and crew handling procedures. Under cross deck flying operations, a helicopter from USS 'Shoup' landed on-board Indian Naval Ship 'Sahayadri' and later on Japanese Naval ship 'Sazanami', the officials said. This is the first year that Malabar was conducted in the Guam operation area.

Initiated in 1992 as an exercise between the navies of the US and Japan, Malabar 2018 is the 22nd rendition of the exercise and included the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), a regular participant since 2015. The United States, Japan and India have a range of common security interests that include maritime security, counter terrorism, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief. By doing so, they bolster the shared vision laid out by their respective governments to contribute to overall peace and security in the region, he statement added.

Under the crew exchange programme, an Indian Navy helicopter transferred Japanese sailors to Naval ship Vikramaditya in the Bay of Bengal. This was followed by flying operations by helicopters of US Navy ships. On combined crew training exercise, MiG 29K fighter air craft from INS Vikramaditya undertook combat missions against US Navy F-18 fighter aircraft launched from USS Nimitz. Aircraft from both Indian and US Navies undertook composite formation flying, demonstrating another step in the interoperability aimed through this exercise, the statement added.

Over the last 26 years, this Maritime Exercise has grown in scope and complexity and aims to address the variety of shared threats and challenges to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific. Further, the exercise contributed towards increasing the level of mutual understanding, interoperability and sharing of the best practices between the three navies.

The Malabar-18 included professional interactions during the Harbour Phase in Guam from 07 to 10 June 18. The Sea Phase from 11 to 16 June 2018 included a diverse range of activities at sea including Aircraft Carrier operations, Air Defence, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Surface Warfare, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), Joint Manoeuvres and Tactical procedures.