Mumbai: The United States and the Indian Navy are set to conduct complex air-to-air, under-sea and warship-to-warship manoeuvres as part of their recurrent 'Malabar' series of war games which will be conducted for a period of ten days, starting 15 October. Along with aircraft carriers and submarines, the war game, to be held in the Arabian Sea off India's western seaboard, will also see participation by latest guided missile cruisers, destroyers and frigates as well as long range maritime F-18 and Jaguar fighters.
The United States Navy will field its most-powerful warships, led by the latest nuclear-powered super-carrier, USS Ronald Reagan, and nuclear submarine, USS Springfield. The Indian Navy will field an entire range of indigenously designed and built warships, led by the Delhi-class destroyer, INS Mumbai. Other warships will include Rajput-class missile destroyers, the stealth-featured INS Talwar and the somewhat older INS Godavari, INS Brahmaputra and INS Betwa-class frigates.
It will also field the SSK-class German designed submarine, INS Shishumar.
Shore based aircrafts - the Long Range Maritime Patrol (LRMP) TU-142M of the Indian Navy and P-3C Orions from the US Navy and Indian Air Force fighter jets Jaguar, Indian Navy's Dorniers and ship borne helicopters Sea King, Kamov and Chetak helicopters - will also participate in the exercise.
"The naval war games will be complex in nature involving anti-submarine warfare manoeuvres, flying operations and cross deck embarkations," a naval official said, signaling a mark-up in the complexity of the exercises that have been held by the two countries.
The new Malabar series of war games will follow hot on the heels of the 'Red Flag' fighter exercises, the world's most prestigious, to which the Indian Air Force was invited. For the first time ever, the IAF's frontline Sukhoi-30MKI fighters took part in this exercise. Red Flag is arguably the world's most advanced air war game, conducted at the Nellis Air Force Base in the United States. These exercises are now coming to a conclusion.
Along with the carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which is the ninth and the latest of the Nimitz-class of carriers, with a displacement of 95,000 tonnes, five other USN ships will also participate in the war games. These warships, part of the carrier strike group (CSG-7) led by USS Ronald Reagan, are guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville, guided missile destroyer USS Gridley and Decatur, a guided missile frigate USS Thach and a auxiliary ship USS Bridge.
The US navy is also bringing its Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine USS Springfield for the war games.
Indian warships were involved in exercises with the USS Ronald Reagan in waters off the Sri Lankan coast last year. This exercise had five countries taking part - India, US, Australia, Japan and Singapore.
At the Indian end, the war game will be co-supervised by Western Naval Command chief, Vice Admiral JS Bedi.