Malabar is an annual bilateral exercise conducted between the navies of US and India. For 2009 however, the Indian Navy also invited the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) to participate and the exercise itself was conducted off the coast of Okinawa, Japan from April 26th to May 03rd. The participants also conducted personnel exchanges and professional discussions at sea and ashore.
The features of Exercise Malabar 2009 were:
• Visit, Board, Search & Seizure (VBBS) techniques
• Surface warfare maneuvers
• Anti-submarine warfare
• Gunnery training
• Air defense
U.S., India, Japan increase interoperability during Malabar 2009
[US 7th Fleet, 30 April 2009]
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew R. White
SASEBO, Japan -- United States, Indian, and Japanese forces gathered in Sasebo, Japan on April 26th to kick off the trilateral Exercise Malabar 2009. The annual, Indian-led, exercise Malabar is designed to increase the interoperability between navies and strengthen the stability of the Pacific region. During the exercise, approximately 4000 personnel from the three participating maritime forces will execute anti-submarine warfare; surface warfare; air defense; live-fire gunnery training; and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) evolutions. "Malabar is our premier blue water exercise with the Indian Navy," said Lieutenant Aaron Kakiel, 7th Fleet's South Asia policy and exercise officer. "We value this opportunity to increase our interoperability with our regional partners," he added. Traditionally a bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Indian navies, this year's Malabar will also include the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).
"Adding the JMSDF is of particular benefit to the U.S. and Indian navies," Lieutenant Kakiel said. "All three navies have unique ways of conducting similar operations, exercising together allows us to help develop common practices." Sailors will embark on their counterpart's ships during Malabar to enhance the interoperability by sharing information and learning from their allies. "Sailor exchanges provide a valuable professional experience," said Lieutenant Kakiel and added, "The free exchange of ideas and trust that develops from these swaps proves invaluable in developing a framework for future engagements." During Malabar, VBSS teams from the three nations will jointly board USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and INS Jyoti (A58) to share with each other how they conduct maritime interdiction operations (MIO).
"Taking different teams and integrating them together in a coordinated effort to achieve a common goal is a good way to share knowledge with each other," said Ensign James Lamb, force protection officer for USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62). "We have our way of doing things," he said, "but if we see the Indians or Japanese have a better way of accomplishing the same task, we can take there procedure and incorporate it into our own." The United States will be represented by the 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Chafee (DDG 90), fast attack submarine USS Seawolf (SSN 21) and various P-3C Orion and SH-60 Seahawk aircraft. Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, the U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, covering more than 48 million square miles, with approximately 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to it at any time.
India, Japan, U.S. foster relationships during MALABAR
[US Navy, 05 May 2009]
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Cassatt
PACIFIC OCEAN -- The Indian Navy, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and the US Navy expanded their maritime partnerships during Exercise Malabar 2009, held off the coast of Japan from April 29th to May 03rd. MALABAR aims to increase coordination between the navies, thus creating a more effective response to maritime threats by developing common procedures in maritime operations. Historically, MALABAR was a bilateral engagement between the United States and India, who leads the exercise. This year the Indian Navy invited the JMSDF to participate. "With the Japanese Navy there are a greater number of ships involved, which increases the complexity of the exercise," said Lieutenant Commander Hemanth Gopal, assistant surface warfare officer of INS Mumbai (D62) and added, "With more ships involved, there is a wider range of operations we can conduct together, as well as learn the many ways of approaching the same challenges." MALABAR included surface, subsurface and air operations, including helicopters from each navy landing and taking off from the other navy's ships. A visit, board, search & seizure (VBSS) operation, during which Indian and Japanese VBSS teams boarded USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) to simulate searching a merchant vessel highlighted the exercise.
"It's been a good experience for all three navies," said Lieutenant Commander Hemanth Gopal and added, "We are utilizing each other's experience, and learning to work together by holding these scenarios." Lieutenant Commander John Fleming, the operations officer of USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), said, "The US, Japan and India share democratic and seafaring traditions," and added, "we look forward to continuing to strengthen the bonds and personal relationships between our navies and advancing into more complex operational and strategic areas that go beyond tactical exercises." Lieutenant Aaron Kakiel, 7th Fleet South Asia Policy & Exercise officer, stated, "MALABAR 2009 is significant because it is the second time the Indian, U.S., and Japanese have operated together in the Western Pacific," and added, "We were excited to have Japan involved this year, and we hope to see them in future Malabar exercises." MALABAR was last held in 2008 off the coast of India between the US and India. Japan last participated in Malabar in 2007. The ships involved were INS Mumbai (D62), INS Khanjar (P47), INS Ranvir (D54), INS Jyoti (A58), JDS Kurama (DDH 144), JDS Asayuki (DD 132), USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Chafee (DDG 90) and USS Seawolf (SSN 21).
MALABAR '09 ORBAT (ORder of BATtle)
Indian Navy: Four Vessels
• INS Mumbai (D62): Guided-Missile Destroyer
• INS Ranvir (D54): Guided-Missile Destroyer
• INS Khanjar (P47): Guided-Missile Corvette
• INS Jyoti (A58): Replenishment Tanker
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force: Two Vessels
• JDS Kurama (DDH 144): Guided-Missile Destroyer
• JDS Asayuki (DD 132): Guided-Missile Frigate
United States Navy: Four Vessels
• USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62): Guided-Missile Destroyer, Commanding Officer - Commander Richard Dromerhauser
• USS Chafee (DDG 90): Guided-Missile Destroyer, Commanding Officer - Commander Heedong Choi
• USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19): Amphibious Command Ship, Commanding Officer - Captain Thom Burke
• USS Seawolf (SSN 21): Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine
In addition to the US naval fleet, P-3C Orion martime reconnaissance aircraft and SH-60 multimission maritime helicopters of the US Navy also took part in the joint exercise.
Images Courtesy - United States Navy