BAY OF BENGAL (NNS) -- The tri-lateral exercise Malabar came to a close as Indian, Japanese and U.S. naval forces completed training, Oct. 19.
The annual high-end war fighting exercise, which began in 1992, featured maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare, air defense exercises (ADEX) and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations.
"Every Malabar we really go one notch up, and I think we've achieved the same thing this time," said Indian Navy Rear Adm. SV Bhokare, flag officer commanding Eastern Fleet. "We have really achieved a high level of interoperability and I'm sure we will do better next time."
At-sea events started with an ADEX involving the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and the Indian frigate INS Shivalik (F 47).
"Exercise Malabar has enabled the Indian Navy, JMSDF [Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force], and the U.S. Navy to further our interoperability," said Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12. "This in turn will allow for enhanced support from any one Navy to the next as they operate within and outside their nation's maritime region, enabling a more global presence for all. Presence is important because being there matters. It matters in global businesses, it matters in international relations and it certainly matters in maritime security where our navies ensure the freedom of navigation and flow of commerce."
The ashore portion of the exercise featured information exchanges from professionals and subject-matter experts on a wide variety of military operations including helicopter operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, damage control, carrier strike group operations and explosive ordnance disposal.
"I think we have built upon each of the exercises annually to broaden and deepen the complexity," said Capt. Craig Clapperton, Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officer. "I think the lessons learned from the interoperability of all of these ships and planes in very close proximity and doing so effectively and safely will be invaluable to all three navies."
Capt. Scott Robertson, Normandy's commanding officer, was confident the exercise improved interoperability between the three countries.
"With the talent and capability that we saw here over the last four days, if there is ever a need to actually form a tri-lateral strike group, we absolutely could do it," said Robertson.
While conducting the at-sea portion of the training, ships from the Indian Navy, the JMSDF and the U.S. Navy collaborated to advance their ability to plan and coordinate tactical operations in a multinational environment. Events at sea included submarine familiarization, surface warfare exercises, liaison officer professional exchanges and embarkations, high-value unit defense, mine exercise, medevac, search and rescue exercises, communication exercises and an opposed underway replenishment.
Theodore Roosevelt also welcomed aboard officers and dignitaries from each nation for a chance to exchange information and observe operations.
"I think the biggest highlight of this Malabar is that despite so many operations, everything went on safely. There were no incidents, and I think it really speaks volumes of our Sailors because they are the ones who actually conduct these exercises," said Bhokare. "You make new friends and that's one of the bigger highlights of this exercise. So I thank each one of you for your participation and I am looking forward to Malabar 2016."
Months of planning go in to creating these exercises, and years of partnership are what bring these governments together.
"The exercise has come a long way over the years and there has been great cooperation and coordination in making this come together," said Kelley.
TR, Normandy, Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), Los Angeles-class submarine USS Corpus Christi (SSN 705), the Japanese Akizuki-class destroyer JS Fuyuzuki (DD 108), the Indian Navy Brahmaputra-class guided-missile frigate INS Betwa (F 39), the Rajput-class destroyer INS Ravijay (D 55), the Sindhughosh-class diesel-electric submarine INS Sindhuraj (S 57), INS Shivalik and INS Shakti were all participants in Exercise Malabar 2015.
Malabar is a continuing series of complex, high-end war fighting exercises conducted to advance multi-national maritime relationships and mutual security. It features complex exercises both ashore and at sea.
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For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.