Naval Exercises Current Affairs
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The world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC-2018) will see participation of 26 countries, including India. The exercise will be held from June 27 to August 2, 2018 in and around Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
The theme for this year’s RIMPAC exercise is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.” Four countries Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnamare are participating for first time. US had withdrawn invitation of Chinese navy in response to China’s continued illegal militarisation of islands in disputed South China Sea.
RIMPAC 2018 will see participation of 47 surface ships, five submarines, 18 national land forces, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. New Zealand will be serving as sea combat commander in this edition of exercise, and Chile serving as combined force maritime component commander. This will be for the first time non-founding RIMPAC nation (Chile) will hold component commander leadership position.
In this edition, RIMPAC for first time will see participation of land-based unit in the live fire event. It will feature live firing of Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from US Air Force aircraft, surface-to-ship missiles by Japan Ground Self-Defence Force and Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from launcher on back of Palletized Load System (PLS) by US Army.
Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise
RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise. It was held for first time in 1971, since the held biennially near Honolulu, Hawaii (US) during June and July of even-numbered years. It is hosted and administered by United States Navy’s Pacific Fleet (headquartered at Pearl Harbour) in conjunction with Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Hawaii National Guard forces under control of Governor of Hawaii. For this exercise, host country US invites military forces of countries from Pacific Rim and beyond to participate. The biennial exercise seeks to provide unique training opportunity to participants in order foster cooperative relationships to ensure the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.
Trilateral Naval Exercise Malabar 2018 between India, Japan and United States will be held off the coast of Guam in Philippine Sea from June 6-15, 2018. It will be 22nd edition of the naval exercise. The exercise comes at time of increased friction between China and US along with nations bordering resource rich South China Sea (SCS) as China is militarising reclaimed islands in it to further strengthen its claim.
This edition of annual exercise will focus on high-end war fighting skillsets, subject matter expert and professional exchanges. It will also include combined carrier strike group operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare, medical operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, damage control, helicopter operations and visit, board, search and seizure operations.
Indian Navy participation in this year’s exercises will include indigenous stealth frigate INS Sahyadri, fleet tanker INS Shakti, anti-submarine corvette INS Kamorta and P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft. Japan is deploying its helicopter carrier JDS Ise along with Kawasaki P-1 aircraft maritime patrol aircraft and Soryu class conventional submarines. US is sending its aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan along with strike complement of destroyers, nuclear attack submarines and support ships in addition to P-8A maritime patrol aircraft.
Malabar Exercise was started as Indo-US bilateral naval war drill in 1992. Since then it is held annually. Japan had formally joined the exercise as permanent participant in 2015, making it trilateral exercise. The primary aim of this multilateral exercise is to increase interoperability amongst navies of three countries and develop common understanding of procedures for Maritime Security Operations and deepen defence relations between them. In 2007, the exercise also saw participation of Australia and Singapore. All the participating nations in the exercise have clarified earlier that the Malabar series is not aimed at any specific country.