QUAD Power On Show During Phase II Of Malabar Naval Exercise

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On deck operations during the Malabar Exercise. Pic: IANS

North Arabian Sea: The Malabar naval exercise in the Indian Ocean Region witnessed coordinated operations involving fighter jets and other aircraft of the Indian Navy and its US counterpart from the decks of the two aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and USS Nimitz respectively.

Indian Navy’s MiG 29Ks and maritime patrol aircraft P-8I along with US Navy’s F-18 and AEW aircraft E2C participated in these operations.

“Both fighter aircraft operated as a composite strike package and practiced Beyond Visual Range (BVR) tactics, including Dissimilar Aircraft Combat Training (DACT) exercises,” the Indian Navy said.

These complex and advanced air defence exercises and naval manoeuvres necessitate a high level of understanding amongst both aircrews and underline the similarity in their air operations as well as a high level of operational preparedness and an ability to conduct joint maritime security operations, it added.

The navies of Quad or Quadrilateral coalition – an informal security forum comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia – are carrying out the naval exercise with aircraft carriers battle groups from November 17 to November 20 in the Indian Ocean region.

Sailors on the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) wave to
the crew of the Indian Navy destroyer INS Kolkata. – U.S. Navy photo

Underway replenishment was also undertaken between Indian Navy ships and those of the Royal Australian Navy, the US Navy and Japanese Defence Forces.

The coordination and understanding displayed by the navies during these exercises is reflective of the trust and understanding they have built over the years, as also the high standards of professionalism and preparedness they maintain to counter any threat at sea.

The first phase of Malabar exercise was conducted in the Bay of Bengal from November 3 to November 6. The Malabar series of exercises, which began as an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and the US in 1992, has seen increasing scope and complexity over the years.

In addition to advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions and weapon firings are also being undertaken to enhance interoperability and synergy between the four friendly navies.

Indian destroyer INS Kolkata in the Arabian Sea – U.S. Navy photo

Apart from INS Vikramaditya and its fighter and helicopter air-wings, indigenous destroyers INS Kolkata and INS Chennai, stealth frigate INS Talwar, Fleet Support Ship INS Deepak and integral helicopters are also part of the exercise, led by Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet.

The exercise is taking place against the backdrop of growing concerns over Chinese expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region, both on land and sea.

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