Japan in charge of trilateral naval drill Malabar for first time

Ships from the Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the U.S. Navy sail in formation during Malabar 2018. Photo: US Navy

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force will lead the trilateral naval maneuver Malabar for the first time since the exercise started over 20 years ago.

Taking place off the coast of Sasebo, Japan, the exercise is set to kick off on September 26.

The maneuver usually features high-profile units such as aircraft carrier and submarines.

This year’s edition of the exercise will feature Indian Navy missile frigate Sahyadri and corvette Kiltan, US Navy destroyer USS McCampbell, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine and a Poseidon P-8A maritime patrol aircraft.

The JMSDF would be participating with its Izumo-class helicopter destroyer JS Kaga, guided missile destroyers JS Samidare and Choukai and a P1 reconnaissance aircraft.

An Indian P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will also take part, having landed in Japan on Monday while on its maiden operational deployment.

Malabar 2019 will feature training ashore and at-sea in waters off the coast of Japan. Training will focus on high-end warfighting skillsets, subject matter expert and professional exchanges, combined operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, submarine familiarization, surface and anti-submarine warfare, medical operations, damage control, helicopter operations and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations.

“Thanks to the hard work of staffs and leaders in the Indian and US navies, we now enjoy this excellent relationship between our three countries,” said JMSDF Rear Adm. Masafumi Nishiwaki, Commander, Escort Flotilla Four. “This exercise is an opportunity to fully integrate our teams and refine our support for each other, so we can have greater confidence in our combined capabilities.”

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