The First Phase of the 24th edition of the Malabar Naval Exercise has begun in Visakhapatnam, Bay of Bengal on 2nd November. Indian Navy, United States Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and Royal Australian Navy are taking part in the Naval Exercise.
Hosted by the Indian Navy, this year marks the 24th iteration of Exercise MALABAR, which began in 1992 and will feature the Royal Australian Navy as they rejoin the exercise. The annual exercise advances the planning, integration and employment of advanced warfare tactics between participating nations.
Phase-1 of MALABAR 20 will witness the participation of Indian Navy units with United States Ship (USS) John S McCain (Guided-missile destroyer), Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Ballarat (long-range frigates) with integral MH-60 helicopter, and Japan Maritime Self Defence Ship (JMSDF) Onami (Destroyer) with integral SH-60 helicopter.
The Indian Navy participation in Phase 1 will be led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet. Indian Navy units participating in the exercise include destroyer Ranvijay, frigate Shivalik, Off-Shore Patrol Vessel Sukanya, Fleet Support Ship Shakti and submarine Sindhuraj. In addition, Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk, long-range maritime patrol aircraft P-8I, Dornier maritime patrol aircraft, and helicopters will also be participating in the exercise.
This year’s exercise at-sea includes a variety of high-end tactical training, including specific interactions that are designed to enhance interoperability between RAN, IN, JMSDF and U.S. maritime forces.
The exercise, being conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise in view of COVID-19 pandemic, will showcase the high-levels of synergy and coordination between the friendly navies, which is based on their shared values and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order. MALABAR 20 Phase1 would witness complex and advanced naval exercises including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, cross deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon firing exercises. Phase 2 of MALABAR 20 is scheduled to be conducted in the Arabian Sea in mid-November 2020.