US Navy's Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, the largest warship in the world, is heading towards Chennai for Exercise Malabar 2012.
US Navy's Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, the largest warship in the world, is heading towards Chennai for Exercise Malabar 2012. The nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), which the American military had used to dispose the body of Osama bin Laden at an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean, will dock off the port on Saturday.
The 330-metre-long super carrier is on a four-day visit to take part in Exercise Malabar 2012 with India and other allied countries. This will be the 15th edition of the multilateral exercise involving the United States, India, Japan, Australia, and Singapore. The Carl Vinson will be accompanied by two other US warships which will berth inside the port. China is extremely worried about the increasing defence partnership between India and the United States which China sees as an axis of democracy against the communist regime.
The Indian Navy will soon co-ordinate with USS Carl Vinson to commence Exercise Malabar 2012.
The Indian and US navies will together demonstrate their ocean defence capabilities off the eastern seaboard in the Bay of Bengal. They will guard the waters from Visakhapatnam to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that lead to the Strait of Malacca which is one of the world's busiest waterways.
Indian and American armed forces have held as many as 60 exercises over the past eight years, the largest the US has had with any other country in the world. Exercise Malabar, which has often included participation of aircraft carriers is the most prestigious military-to-military engagement between the two countries. Involving aircraft carriers from each side to conduct military manoeuvres signifies the ultimate trust between the military's of both the countries.
The USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was the third of the 10 Nimitz-class supercarriers built for the US Navy. The carrier was commissioned on March 13, 1982 and has since been deployed in several combat operations.
In the 1990's, it launched airstrikes in support of Operation Desert Fox and Operation Southern Watch in Iraq. After the September 11 attacks, the USS Carl Vinson moved to the North Arabian Sea, to launch the first strikes of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Exercise Malabar is a multilateral naval exercise involving the United States, India, Japan, Australia, and Singapore. The annual MALABAR series began in 1992, and includes diverse activities, ranging from fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers, through Maritime Interdiction Operations Exercises.
Three exercises were conducted prior to 1998, when the Americans suspended exercises after India tested nuclear weapons. However, Washington renewed military contacts following the September 11 attacks when India joined President George W Bush's campaign against international terrorism.
In 2002, the exercises comprised basic passing maneuvers among naval vessels, anti-submarine exercises and replenishment-at-sea drills.
In 2003, US warships, USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), USS Chosin (CG-65); US submarine USS Pasadena (SSN-752); Indian guided missile frigates, INS Brahmaputra and INS Ganga; Indian submarine INS Shalki and several aircraft conducted anti-submarine warfare tactics.
In 2004, Malabar participants included advanced assets like the USS Alexandria (SSN-757), a Los Angeles class submarine, and US Navy P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. This enabled both navies to engage in submarine familiarization exercises, a key capability for anti-submarine warfare collaboration.
In 2005, Malabar featured the participation of the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and INS Viraat. During a month of operations, US and Indian forces collaborated on a wide variety of tasks ranging from a joint diving salvage operation to a 24-hour 'war at sea' simulation that saw the two forces engage in mock combat.
In 2006, a US expeditionary strike group comprising amphibious ships, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines participated in the exercise for the first time.
Malabar-2007, besides interception and dissimilar air combat exercises, featured surface and anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction and Visit, board, search, and seizure operations to counter piracy and terrorist acts at sea.
On 4 September 2007, the naval exercise included 25 vessels from India, the United States, Japan, Australia and Singapore in the Bay of Bengal. This was the first time a joint exercise of this scale involving 25 vessels was conducted, an event that India says is a pointer to the country's growing importance on the world stage.
China, which has not officially commented on the drill, is known to be unhappy over the event as it is being conducted in the Bay of Bengal for the first time. China has been cultivating naval cooperation with Bangladesh and Myanmar to gain access to the Bay of Bengal. China has also been strengthening military cooperation with Sri Lanka.
India's Left parties that have been giving Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government a hard time on the India-US civilian nuclear deal, have vehemently protested the joint drill, seeing it as yet another sign of the growing closeness between New Delhi and Washington.
In June, China had issued a 'demarche' to India, United States, Japan and Australia seeking details about their four-nation meeting, termed a Quadrilateral Initiative. India and Australia had quickly assured Beijing that security and defence issues did not form part of the meeting's agenda.
At one time, the Indian government was known to have considered postponing or even canceling the drill but the Indian Navy put its foot down, saying the logistics involved made any delay impossible.
The operational area of Malabar-2007 stretched from Vizag on the eastern seaboard to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that guard the approaches to the Strait of Malacca, considered one of the world's busiest waterways.
The drill was previously a bilateral India-US engagement and was expanded for the first time.
The US Navy had the largest representation during Malabar-2007 with 13 warships, including the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz that was protested when it dropped anchor off Chennai in July.
The other vessels included the conventionally powered carrier USS Kitty Hawk, the nuclear submarine USS Chicago (SSN-721), two guided missile cruisers, and six guided missile destroyers.
Eight warships of India, including the aircraft carrier INS Viraat, represented the Indian Navy. Viraat's Sea Harrier jets and Sea King helicopters, and the Indian Air Force's Jaguar deep-penetration strike aircraft were also seen in action.
Australia was represented by a frigate and a tanker; Japan by two destroyers; and Singapore by a frigate.
19 October 2008, Exercise MALABAR 08, the twelfth of the series, was conducted in the Arabian Sea. The US Navy was represented by the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) Strike Group (RRSG). In addition, one submarine, USS Springfield (SSN-761), and one P3C Orion aircraft also participated in the exercise.
The Indian Navy was represented by INS Mumbai (D62), a Delhi Class guided missile destroyer, INS Rana (D52), a Rajput Class guided missile destroyer and four guided missile frigates, namely, INS Talwar (F40), INS Godavari (F20), INS Brahmaputra (F31) and INS Betwa (F39). Additionally, INS Aditya (A59), an underway replenishment tanker, and one Shishumar class submarine, Sea Harrier fighters, fixed and rotary wing aircraft also participated.
The Malabar Series of Exercises, from April 2 to April 10, 2011 will be held off the Okinawa coast.
India had stopped involving more countries in the Indo-U.S. exercises after China, in 2007, sent demarches to all the participants of a five-nation naval exercise held in the Bay of Bengal. With last year's Japanese participation raising no political storm, India was once again agreeable to the idea of allowing the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force to participate.
Ships of the Strike Group with the Indian Navy during Malabar 2011
Carrier Strike Group Seven was able to participate in Malabar 2011 (pictured). U.S. naval units initially included the guided-missile destroyers Sterett and Stethem; the guided-missile frigate Reuben James; and a nuclear powered attack submarine. Indian naval units included the guided-missile destroyers Delhi, Ranvijay, and INS Ranvir (D54); the corvette INS Kirch (P62); and the replenishment tanker Jyoti.
The at-sea portions were conducted in the western Pacific Ocean, east of the Luzon Strait, and east of Okinawa. The exercise's location coincided with the Indian Navy's western Pacific deployment.
Malabar 2011 was designed to advance U.S.-Indian coordination and operational capacity. Exercise events included liaison officer professional exchanges and embarks; communications exercises; surface action group exercise operations; formation maneuvering; helicopter cross deck evolutions; underway replenishments; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; gunnery exercises; visit, board, search and seizure; maritime strike; air defense; screen exercise; and anti-submarine warfare. U.S. and Indian navy ships ended the exercise on 9 April 2011.
Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 3rd Class Christopher Bast, 21, from Temecula, Calf., watches from a U.S. Navy aircraft as naval ships from India, Australia, Japan, Singapore and the United States join for a group photograph in the Bay of Bengal during Exercise Malabar on Wednesday.
JAROD HODGE / U.S. NAVY
More than 20,000 naval personnel from five countries kicked off Exercise Malabar off the coast of India on Wednesday.
Previous Malabar exercises have involved just the United States and India, but this year the Indian navy invited Australia, Japan and Singapore to participate, according to a U.S. Navy news release.
The at-sea exercise is designed to increase the ability of the five nations’ maritime forces “to respond, as necessary, to maritime threats such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and transnational challenges such as pandemic disease and natural disaster,” the release said.
Training between the countries will include sea control operations of all major air, surface and subsurface maritime skill sets, the release said. The participants also will conduct personnel exchanges during the exercise.
The United States will be represented by the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Kitty Hawk; guided-missile cruisers USS Cowpens and USS Princeton; guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur, USS Mustin, USS John Paul Jones, USS Chafee and USS Higgins; and various aircraft.