Supported by 2,000 personnel from Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, the 27th iteration of Exercise Malabar came to a close this week – marking the first occasion that the exercise has been held in Australia.
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Exercise Malabar was held between 10 and 21 August, testing high-end anti-submarine, air-defence and gunnery exercises, as well as aviation and communication operations, and even cultural and sporting activities across Australia’s east coast.
Marking the first occasion that the exercise has been held in Australia, Defence explained that the exercise reflects Australia’s ongoing commitment to working with partners to achieve an open, secure, and resilient region.
The exercise included HMAS Brisbane, HMAS Choules, and an Australian submarine which operated alongside Indian Navy ships Kolkata and Sahyadri, Japanese ship Shiranui, and the United States ship Rafael Peralta, and a US submarine.
Australia also deployed a range of aircraft to support the exercise, assets include MH-60R Seahawks, RAAF F-35 Lightning II, Hawk 125, and P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
Defence outlined that the United States deployed a P-8I and P-8 aircraft for Exercise Malabar, respectively.
According to INS Sahyadri Commanding Officer Captain Rajan Kapoor, the exercise paved way for greater collaboration between the nations.
“As the days passed by, the complexity of the training exercises increased which helped us to achieve our objectives – we could learn a lot from each other’s perspective,” CAPT Kapoor said.
“There are certain differences in the way we operate, however Exercise Malabar has only paved the way for even closer joint operations in reaching our goal of regional cooperative engagement, interoperability, and preparedness.”
Meanwhile, USS Rafael Peralta Commanding Officer Commander CT Cooper reflected that the exercise was an opportunity for the four nations to operate as a combined naval group.
“Exercise Malabar has been an outstanding opportunity to forge close friendships, exchange cultures and strengthen our understanding of each other’s professional capabilities,” CDR Cooper said.
“We absolutely demonstrated our four nations’ abilities to collectively travel tens of thousands of miles, come together, and work as a combined joint naval group.
“It has been honour to join our partners in this high-end exercise to promote interoperability, military cooperation, and a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
The training was an opportunity to contribute to regional stability, Japan’s JS Shiranui Commanding Officer Commander Minami Kazuhiro added.
“It provided the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force the opportunity to enhance our tactical skills, improve interoperability, and to deepen cooperative relationship with the Australian, Indian, and United States navies throughout the exercise as well as the participating air forces,” Commander Kazuhiro detailed.