Indian, U.S. Carrier Battle Groups to Participate in Phase 2 of Exercise MALABAR 2020

The Indian Navy’s Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group and the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz Carrier Strike Group will participate in the second phase of Exercise Malabar 2020 that will be conducted in the Northern Arabian Sea from Nov. 17 to 20.

The second phase will involve coordinated operations of increasing complexity between the navies of Australia, India, Japan and the United States. The fist phase of the exercise was recently concluded Phase 1 of Exercise Malabar 2020, which was conducted in the Bay of Bengal from Nov. 3 to 6.

The two carriers, INS Vikramaditya (R33) and USS Nimitz (CVN-68), along with other ships, submarine and aircraft of the participating navies would be engaged in high intensity naval operations over four days. These exercises include cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defence exercises by Indian Navy MiG-29K fighter jets from INS Vikramaditya and F/A-18 fighter jets and E-2C Hawkeye tactical airborne early warning aircraft from USS Nimitz. In addition, advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises, seamanship evolutions and weapon firings will also be undertaken to further enhance inter-operability and synergy between the four friendly navies.

In addition to Vikramaditya and its fighter and helicopter air wings, Kolkata-class indigenous stealth destroyers INS Kolkata (D63) and INS Chennai (D65), Talwar-class stealth frigate INS Talwar (F40), Deepak-class fleet tanker INS Deepak (A50) and embarked helicopters will also participate in the exercise, led by Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Flag Officer Commanding of Western Fleet. India Navy’s modified Scorpene/ Kalvari-class conventional attack submarine INS Khanderi and P-8I Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft will also showcase their capabilities during the exercise.

U.S. Navy’s Strike Carrier Nimitz will be accompanied by Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG-59) and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG-104) in addition to P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will be represented by Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155) along with its integral helicopter. Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) will also participate in the exercise.

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. The 24th edition of MALABAR, which is being presently undertaken, highlights enhanced convergence of views amongst the four vibrant democracies on maritime issues, and showcases their commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.

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