Malabar 2018 to feature 12 warships, 2 submarines

Exercise Malabar, the trilateral naval drill taking place off the coast of Guam, will feature a total of 12 warships – including aircraft and helicopter carriers – and two submarines.

Warships sail in formation during Malabar 2016. Photo: US Navy

The lineup for the maneuvers could have been even more impressive had the Royal Australian Navy been allowed to join the exercise.

What originally started as a bilateral naval drill between the US and India evolved in 2015 to include the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).

The 2018 edition of the exercise will include the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which began its summer patrol on May 29, and JMSDF helicopter carrier JS Ise as major surface warships.

The US Navy will further be represented by Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville, and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Benfold and USS Mustin.

Other JMSD ships will include Takanami-class destroyer JS Suzunami and Akizuki class destroyer JS Fuyuzuki.

The Indian Navy will be represented by frigate INS Sahyadri, corvette INS Kamorta and tanker INS Shakti.

Malabar 2018 will further be joined by a Los Angeles-class submarine and an unspecified JMSDF submarine.

The harbor phase of Malabar starts June 7 while the at sea phase is scheduled to take place between June 11 and 16.

Exercise Malabar is a high-end war fighting exercise which regularly includes submarine familiarization, high-value unit defense, air defense exercises, medical evacuation drills, surface warfare exercises, communications exercises, search and rescue exercises, helicopter cross-deck evolutions, underway replenishments, gunnery exercises, VBSS exercises, and anti-submarine warfare.

The exercise began in 1992 between the US and India. The exercise was hosted by Japan in 2016 and India in 2017.