PHILIPPINE SEA – Maritime forces from Australia, Japan, India and the United States began the first phase of the Malabar 2021 Cooperative Maritime Exercise in the Philippine Sea on August 26.
Malabar is an annual maritime exercise that enhances the planning, training and employment of advanced warfare tactics between the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Indian Navy (IN), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), and the US Navy which demonstrates the commitment among like-minded nations to maintaining a rules-based maritime order in the Indo-Pacific.
This year’s exercise is hosted by the US Navy and will take place in two phases. The first phase provides an opportunity for the four Indo-Pacific navies to operate together in the Philippine Sea to enhance their skills in Combined Maritime Operations, Anti-Submarine Warfare Operations, Air Warfare Operations, live fire, refueling at sea, flight operations between bridges and maritime interdiction operations.
This year’s exercise includes Naval Special Warfare Forces during Phase 1 to address irregular maritime threats and enhance integration with traditional naval forces.
“MALABAR 21 is a great opportunity to organize multinational training to hone war and maritime security skills,” said Captain Chase Sargeant, commander of CTF 71. “US destroyers integrating closely with our partners and allies lays the foundation for regional security and stability that benefits all Indo-Pacific nations. “
U.S. participants in the first phase include the best submarine hunter in the Pacific Fleet, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52), naval special warfare forces, patrol aircraft and Marine Reconnaissance Task Force 72 and Military Sealift Command (MSC) Henry J. Kaiser-class re-stocking USNS Rappahannock tanker (T-AO 204).
“MALABAR 21 offers a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our international partnerships,” said Cmdr. Chris Gahl, Commanding Officer of USS Barry. “Our team is delighted to demonstrate [anti-submarine warfare] capabilities and collaborate alongside our Indo-Pacific partners and allies. The lessons and tactics we share will strengthen our strength and ability to support the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. “
Elements of the Royal Australian, Indian, Japanese and US Maritime Forces regularly operate together in the Indo-Pacific, fostering a cooperative approach to regional security and stability to deter malicious influences.
The Shivalik INS Shivalik (F 47) multipurpose class stealth frigate and Kamorta INS Kadmatt class anti-submarine warfare corvette (P 29) represent the Indian Navy. JMSDF is represented by the Izumo-class general-purpose operation destroyer JS Kaga (DDH 184), the Murasame class destroyers JS Murasame (DD 101) and JS Shiranui (DD 120). Australia is represented by the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Warramonga (FFH 152). Maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft should include an IN P-8, a JMSDF P-1 and a US P-8A.
Under the command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the 7th Fleet is the largest numbered forward deployed fleet of the U.S. Navy, and regularly interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific region.