Indian and US navies organize complex air and maritime exercises in Indian Ocean, launching several summer exercises

Planes assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and Indian Air Force planes fly in formation over the US Navy’s only aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) on June 23, 2021, US Navy Photo

KUALA LUMPUR – The US Navy conducted a high-speed exercise in the Indian Ocean this week involving the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group as well as the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The exercises come at the start of the 27th annual series of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises with CARAT Sri Lanka June 24, which will include the USS Charleston (LCS-18) and the first official participation of the JS destroyer of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Yugiri (DD-153).

USS Ronald reagan (CVN-76), Carrier Air Wing 5 and its escorts conducted the two-day exercise with the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force on June 23-24. The exercises went beyond basic exercises at sea between the US and Indian navies and included, “advanced air defense exercises, helicopter deck operations and anti-submarine exercises,” according to the ministry. Indian Defense.

The Indian Air Force said the United States will fly F / A-18E / F Super Hornets and E-2 Hawkeyes during the exercise. Indian Navy deployed INS destroyer Cochin (D64) and the frigate INS Tej (F45) and its MiG-29K, P-8I Maritime Patrol and Dornier fighters 228 maritime surveillance aircraft. The Indian Air Force has deployed Su-30MKI fighters and Jaguar strike aircraft, in addition to NETRA airborne early warning and control aircraft and IL-78 tankers for the exercise.

Earlier this week, the Reagan Strike Group conducted an exercise in the Indian Ocean with JMSDF JS training ships Kashima (TV3508) and JS Setoyuki (TV3518).

CARAT is an ongoing annual series of bilateral and multilateral exercises conducted by the US Navy in various countries in South and Southeast Asia, although the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced many interactions and exchange events Subject Matter Experts (SMEE) at virtual conferences. CARAT Sri Lanka is the first in this year’s iteration.

“The CARAT series of exercises creates an opportunity to hone our skills, learn from each other and allow us to work towards our common goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Rear Adm. Christopher Engdahl, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 commander, said in a press release. “When we have a better understanding of the environments in which we operate, we can focus on the maintenance of rules-based international order in the maritime environment.”

Charleston and a P-8A Poseidon aircraft that “will join ships and planes from Sri Lanka and Japan for partnership training, focused on building interoperability and strengthening relationships,” a statement read. of the US 7th Fleet.

Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and Indian Air Force planes fly in formation over the US Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76 ), June 23, 2021. U.S. Navy photo

For the first time, helicopters from the United States, Sri Lankan Navy and Sri Lankan Air Force will conduct Deck Landing Qualifications (DLQ) and Vertical Refueling Exercises (VERTREP) on their respective warships.. DESRON 7 confirmed to USNI that these helicopter exercises will be non-contact and will not involve interactions with personnel.

“CARAT Sri Lanka perfectly reflects the excellent cooperation between our two navies and emphasizes our partnership and our respect for Sri Lankan sovereignty,” said Captain Tom Ogden, Commander of the Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, in the press release. “This will be illustrated when we meet our Sri Lankan and Japanese partners at sea, focusing on key areas to develop our maritime integration training. Integration of Navy Seabees aboard the USS Charleston At P-8 and participating commands using IORIS information sharing, the training value of CARAT Sri Lanka 2021 is poised to be invaluable building on previous iterations between our nations.

USS Charleston (LCS 18) arrives in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka for a non-contact port visit prior to Cooperation Afloat and Sea Training (CARAT) in Sri Lanka on June 23, 2021. US Navy Photo

Yugiri is en route to the Gulf of Aden, having left Yokosuka Naval Base on June 5 and undergoing a two-week at-sea quarantine in Japanese waters, as the 39th Surface Force mission deployed to combat piracy (DSPE). The destroyer will relieve its sister ship, the JS Setogiri (DD156), which is leading the 38th DSPE mission. Since 2009, Japan has regularly deployed one to two destroyers, as well as two JMSDF P-3C Orions from Djibouti, as part of anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden and Somalia.

In Guam, the US Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) began bilateral exercise Pacific Griffin 2021 on June 21, a two-week exercise that will end on July 7. The exercise is the third in the series “and will involve events on land and at sea, such as maritime special operations and maritime counterterrorism training, air defense exercises, anti-submarine warfare operations and refueling. series at sea, “according to the 7th Fleet. US forces will include the USS To fold (DDG 65), a fast attack submarine, a P-8A Poseidon. , Coastal Riverine Group and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachments while Singapore will bring RSS Tenacious (71) and RSS Vigorous (72), coastal mission vessel RSS Intrepid (22), training ship MV Avatar and naval divers. Fighters from the Republic of Singapore Air Force Detachment in Guam are also participating in the exercise. The RSAF deployed F-16 fighters, F-15SG fighters and a G550 airborne early warning aircraft to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam on May 24 for a two-month training mission.

West of Guam, the JMSDF JS destroyer Makinami conducted a bilateral exercise with US Navy Mk VI patrol boats on June 23. Meanwhile, further south, the French Air Force’s Heifara-Wakea mission consisting of 3 Rafale fighters, 2 A330 Phoenix refuellers and 2 A400M transport planes arrived in Tahiti, French Polynesia on June 23. June 22 following a 40-hour non-stop flight from France. Heifara-Wakea is intended to demonstrate the French Air Force’s power projection capability to ensure security in French Polynesia. The air group will then travel to Hawaii on June 27 and conduct exercises with US Air Force F-22s based there.

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