The maritime forces of India, Japan and the US are participating in the 20th annual edition of Exercise Malabar 2016 in the Western Pacific Ocean, off the east coast of Okinawa.
Malabar 2016 seeks to boost multinational maritime relationships and mutual security issues based on the nation’s shared maritime environment.
The participating US Navy assets are Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) with embarked Carrier Air Wing 9, USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS William P Lawrence (DDG 110) and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93); a P-8A Poseidon aircraft; and a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine.
The Indian ships participating in the exercise are INS Sahyadri and INS Satpura, INS Shakti and INS Kirch. The ships have embarked one Sea King 42B ASW helicopter and two Chetak utility helicopters.
The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force will be represented by the JS Hyuga helicopter carrier, with SH 60 K integral helicopters and long-range maritime patrol aircraft, besides other advanced warships for specific parts of the exercise.
The exercise will consist of two phases; harbour and sea. The ashore training will be conducted in Sasebo and will involve subject matter expert and professional exchanges on carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare, and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations, among others.
The sea-training is intended to enhance the participating navy’s military-to-military coordination and ability to plan and execute tactical operations in a multinational environment.
To be conducted in the Philippine Sea, the sea-based training will involve submarine familiarisation, high-value unit defence, air defence exercises, medical evacuation drills, surface warfare exercises, search-and-rescue exercises, helicopter cross-deck evolutions, gunnery exercises, VBSS exercises, and anti-submarine warfare.
Image: A mine exercise during Exercise Malabar 2015. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jennifer Case/Released.