New Delhi: The second phase of the four-nation Malabar Exercise – naval war games featuring India, the United States, Japan, and Australia – saw Indian MiG-29K and American F18 fighter jets carry out simulated attacks and coordinated firing on a surface target on Friday.
Dramatic visuals showed the MiG-29Ks taking off and landing on board the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya; a close-up showed a fighter jet touching down at high speed and successfully deploying its tailhook to complete its landing.
“MiG-29Ks of the Indian Navy and F18 of the US Navy flew with Indian Navy maritime patrol aircraft P-81 and US Navy AEW (Airborne Early Warning) aircraft, E2C Hawkeye in seamless coordination,” a statement from the Indian Navy said.
This is the final day of the second phase of these exercises. On Thursday fighter jet ops were conducted from the decks of both Vikramaditya and its American counterpart, the USS Nimitz.
The second phase of the 2020 Malabar Exercise began Tuesday in the northern Arabian Sea with the participation of the Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, as well as other Indian, American, Australian, and Japanese warships and submarines.
The first phase, held in the Bay of Bengal November 3-6, focused on similarly advanced exercises. This is the first time in years that all four members of the alliance are taking part. The drills are being viewed as part of efforts to balance China’s military and economic reach in the Indo-Pacific. They also come as India is locked in a serious stand-off with China over the Ladakh border issue.
Last month China said it had “taken note” of the exercises (and Australia’s inclusion), underlining that military cooperation should be “conducive” to regional peace and stability.