The United States Navy (USN), the Indian Navy (IN) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has commenced the in-port portions of the Malabar 2017 naval exercises in Chennai, India on July 9.
The intensive 10-day combat maneuvers is conducted to address the variety of shared threats to maritime security in the Indo-Asia Pacific and to increase the level of interoperability between three navies.
The exercise will focus on high-end warfighting skillsets, professional exchanges, combined carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare (ASW), medical operations, damage control, special forces, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), helicopter operations, and visit board search and seizure (VBSS) operations.
The tri-lateral exercise comes at a time when Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a tense standoff near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction since mid-June. China has been also muscle-flexing in the South China Sea region deploying military assets in the artificial islands developed by them. The Indian Navy has also recorded a surge in the number of Chinese warships and submarines entering the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) over the last two months.
The Indian naval flotilla participating in the exercise will be led by its sole aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The US naval fleet will be led by USS Nimitz (CVN-68) nuclear-powered super-carrier with its full complement of F/A-18 fighters. Nimitz is currently on deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. Japan is bringing its largest warship, JS Izumo (DDH-183) to the exercise.
China has deployed a Yuan class diesel-electric attack submarine and Haiwingxing intelligence-gathering ship in the vicinity to snoop on the Malabar exercise. China is extremely wary about the trilateral exercise and views any such joint exercises as a move to contain it.
- USS Nimitz (CVN 68) aircraft carrier with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11
- USS Princeton (CG 59) Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser
- USS Howard (DDG 83) Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9
- USS Shoup (DDG 86) Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer from DESRON 9
- USS Pinckney (DDG 91) Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer from DESRON 9
- USS Kidd (DDG 100) Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer from DESRON 9
- Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine
- P-8A Poseidon long-range maritime patrol aircraft (MPA)
- INS Vikramaditya (R33) aircraft carrier with MiG-29K carrier-borne fighters
- 2 x Kamorta-class anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvettes
- 2 x Shivalik-class stealth frigates
- 2 x Rajput-class guided missile destroyers
- Kora-class 1,350-ton guided missile corvette
- Kilo-class diesel-electric attack submarine
- INS Jyoti (A58) replenishment oiler
- Boeing P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft (MPA)
Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF):
- JS Izumo (DDH-183) helicopter carrier with 7 ASW and 2 Search And Rescue (SAR) helicopters
- JS Sazanami (DD113) Takanami class destroyer