Navy, IAF begin passage exercise with U.S. carrier group in Indian Ocean

U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group Ronald Reagan is making its transit through Indian Ocean Region.

Updated - June 23, 2021 07:26 pm IST

Published - June 23, 2021 04:18 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The integrated exercise of IAF & Indian Navy with the U.S. Navy Ronald Reagan CSG gets under way. (Image at Twitter/@IAF_MCC)

The integrated exercise of IAF & Indian Navy with the U.S. Navy Ronald Reagan CSG gets under way. (Image at Twitter/@IAF_MCC)

The Indian Navy and the Air Force began a two-day passage exercise on Wednesday with U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Ronald Reagan during its transit through the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

“The Indian Naval warships along with aircraft from Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF) are engaged in joint multi-domain operations with the US Carrier Strike Group...,” the Navy said.

The exercise aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship and cooperation by demonstrating the ability to integrate and coordinate comprehensively in maritime operations.

“This is what maritime theatre operations would look like. A CSG with integral air power and warships supported by land-based maritime aircraft,” a naval officer said.

The Navy’s INS Kochi and Teg, along with P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft and MiG 29K fighters, are participating in the exercise. For the exercise, which is under the area of responsibility of the Southern Air Command, the IAF forces are operating from bases under four operational commands and include Jaguar and Su-30 MKI fighters, Phalcon and Netra early warning aircraft and IL-78 air to air refueller aircraft, an IAF statement said.

U.S. CSG composition

The U.S.’ CSG comprises Nimitz class aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey and Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh. It has fielded F-18 fighters and E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft in the exercise being carried out south of Thiruvananthapuram on the western seaboard.

“High tempo operations during the exercise include advanced air defence exercises, cross-deck helicopter operations and anti-submarine exercises. The participating forces will endeavour to hone their war-fighting skills and enhance their interoperability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the maritime domain,” a Navy statement said.

Militaries of India and the U.S. have been holding regular exercises in all domains and even during the COVID-19 pandemic, have held passage exercises.

“The exercise with the U.S. CSG will focus on multiple areas, including enhancing aspects of interoperability, nuances of international integrated maritime search and rescue operations and exchange of best practices in the maritime air power domain,” the IAF said.

The multi-spectral capability of the IAF in the IOR also includes Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions and logistics support undertaken in support of friendly nations in the region, it added.

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