Malabar 2017: One cannot imagine what it would be like to watch India and US fighter jets fly together over mighty warships in the Bay of Bengal. These images are sure to give you goosebumps! This is a an aircraft formation of three MiG 29Ks of Indian Navy and F-18s of the US Navy flying over INS Vikramaditya and the USS Nimitz.
According to the Indian Navy, as part of the Malabar 2017 tri-lateral exercises between India-US-Japan, MiG 29K fighter jets took off from India’s largest warship, the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. At the same time, US Navy’s F-18 fighter aircraft were launched from the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier as part of combined crew training. In addition to the combat operations, the fighter aircraft from both navies undertook composite formation flying, thereby demonstrating another step in the interoperability aimed through this exercise, Indian Navy said.
The exercise also saw cross deck flying operations, in which a helicopter from USS Shoup landed onboard INS Sahyadri and JN Sazanami. The helicopter from JN Sazanami undertook flying operations from INS Sahyadri and USS Shoup. The cross deck flying operations require a high degree of interoperability and knowledge of procedures of participating ships and helicopters, says the Indian Navy. INS Jyoti, a tanker ship of the Indian Navy undertook replenishment at sea with US Navy ship Shoup and Japanese navy ship Sazanami.
The 21st edition of the Malabar exercise comes in the backdrop of the ongoing tensions between India and China over the Dokalam standoff. This year 16 warships, two submarines, and more than 95 aircraft of the three countries India, US and Japan are participating. Originally, Malabar was a bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy and the US Navy, but in 2015, Japan became a permanent member, adding to China’s ire. The fact that this year’s Malabar exercise specifically focuses on submarine-hunting operations has sent a strong signal to China – there are reports of the dragon’s submarines being spotted in the Indian Ocean region.