YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Maritime forces from Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), Indian Navy and the U.S. Navy concluded exercise Malabar 2019 October 4.
The annual, multinational, maritime training exercise included participation from P-8A Poseidon aircraft from the “Mad Foxes” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 5.
Malabar 2019, Hosted by JMSDF, featured both ashore and at-sea phases in waters around Japan. The exercise started in 1992, as an annual maritime exercise between the Indian Navy (INN) and U.S. Navy. This year’s training focused on the high-end warfighting skill-sets and combined operations built on training to advance interoperability between navies.
This multi-lateral exercise allowed us the opportunity to do search and rescue, anti-submarine warfare, and overwatch counter-surveillance and reconnaissance operations, as well as test our interoperability and advance our key war-fighting skill sets,” said Capt. Matthew F. Rutherford, commodore, Task Force 72. “Every year we try to advance the complexity of the exercise, emphasizing interoperability and how our tactics work together,”
The objective of Malabar 2019 is to improve interoperability between Indian, Japanese and U.S. maritime forces and provide an opportunity to conduct engagement highlighting U.S. cooperation with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.
“This is my first Malabar Exercise, I was thoroughly impressed with the Indian Navy and the Japanese Navy, and how we were all able to work together.” “Every flight worked toward a common goal and objective every time we flew together.”, said Naval Aircrewman (Operator) 1st Class James Rolls, assigned to the “Mad Foxes” of VP-5.
The “Mad Foxes”, based out of Jacksonville, Florida, are operating out of Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. The detachment is conducting maritime patrol and reconnaissance as well as theater outreach operations within U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
“It's great to be a part of Malabar 2019 because it has been an ongoing practice in coordination, and a learning experience about how things can be done in different ways,” said Lt. Mukund Narayanan, tactics officer assigned to the “Albatross” of the Indian Navy Air Squadron 312, who also participated in an SME exchange with the crew members of VP- 5.
CTF 72 leads patrol, reconnaissance and surveillance forces in support of U.S. 7th Fleet, and consists of over 800 staff, ground support, and maintenance personnel operating in the region.
“The opportunity for our navies to work together reinforces the notions of freedom and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Capt. Rutherford.
U.S. 7th Fleet provides security alongside allies and partners throughout a free and open Indo-Pacific. As the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet operates roughly 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors.