BAY OF BENGAL – Naval forces and liaisons from India, Japan and United States begin Exercise Malabar 2015, Oct. 16, through air defense collaboration.
The featured cooperation consists of aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Airwing (CVW) 1, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and Indian frigate INS Shivalik (F 47).
Exercise Malabar is an annual event designed to enhance naval cooperation through engagement with India and Japan while demonstrating U.S. Naval presence in the Indo-Asia region.
“We launched aircraft from TR to simulate scenarios to exercise the Indian’s self-defense,” said Lt. Sean McDonnell, Normandy’s air defense officer. “[It] supports the overall Malabar exercise by sharing how we control aircraft and learning how the Indian navy controls their aircraft. We’re up on the same voice circuit, so it’s a nice opportunity to collaborate and compare and contrast our procedures. We’ve sent liaison officers to the Indian vessels and welcomed their officers aboard our vessels as well to observe and learn.”
McDonnell embarked TR as a liaison officer to the Normandy to help facilitate the coordination.
“My captain’s responsibility is air defense of the strike group,” he said. “I pass along the word from the strike group to help coordinate between the needs of the strike group and that of my commanding officer.”
Capt. Scott Robertson, Normandy’s commanding officer, welcomed liaison officers from both Malabar participants aboard and was pleased with the collaboration so far.
“I’ve been very impressed by the professionalism and maritime skill of our Indian and Japanese navy partners, and the Normandy crew is enjoying this unique opportunity,” said Robertson. “The [air defense portion] kicked off a great first underway day for the Malabar exercise. The purpose of this particular [exercise] was to build familiarity and appreciation for the capabilities each of the participating navies brings to the modern air defense environment with a special emphasis on control of fighter aircraft.”
The exercise allowed for hand-in-hand, shared communication to learn from each other.
“… As overall observers to manage the exercise …,” said Normandy’s Senior Chief Fire Controlman Jeremiah Lawrence. “… we learned a lot about the willingness to learn from our partner nations and they performed excellently under the guidance of the tasking at hand.”
Planning for the exercise began long before any of the partners embarked to the other’s vessels. Lt. Cmdr. Erin Ceschini, Carrier Strike Group 12’s future plans and staff meteorological and oceanographic officer, started coordination in July via video teleconferencing.
“We’ve got a lot of different events planned,” said Ceschini, “We have air defense exercises, search and rescue, anti-submarine warfare events with Indian and U.S. submarines, along with a dry hook up with an Indian oiler and a war-at-sea exercise.
“This exercise is a big deal to the Indian, Japanese and U.S. navies,” said Ceschini. “We are three democratic countries that are working together to strengthen our military relationships as well as the relationships between our nations. The success of these exercises is important especially considering the effort, planning and resources put into this exercise for these great navies to work together.”
Malabar is a continuing series of complex, high-end war fighting exercises conducted to advance multi-national maritime relationships and mutual security. It will include collaboration between Theodore Roosevelt, Normandy, Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), Los Angeles-class submarine USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705), Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Akizuki-class destroyer JS Fuyuzuki (DD 118), Indian Navy Deepak-class fleet tanker INS Shakti (A 57), Brahmaputra-class guided missile frigate INS Betwa (F 39), Rajput-class destroyer INS Ravijay (D 55), Sindhughosh-class diesel-electric submarine INS Sindhuraj (S 57) and INS Shivalik.
Theodore Roosevelt is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations as part of a worldwide deployment en route to its new homeport in San Diego to complete a three-carrier homeport shift.
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