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Indian, US aircraft carriers go head-to-head in war games
September 23, 2005 21:04 IST
Last Updated: September 27, 2005 11:43 IST
The North Arabian Sea would become the stage of a formidable build-up of naval armada, including 100,000-tonne displacement United States carrier Nimitz, as Indian and American flotilla cross swords in a nine-day joint manoeuvre from September 25.
The eighth series of exercises, billed the most advanced so far, would not only see the pride of the US seventh fleet, Nimitz, in action, but also bring the carrier-based E2C Hawkeye Air Early Warning aircraft, the Los Angeles class submarines and the F-18/A hornet to Indian shores.
Against such formidable forces, the Indian Navy would pit its lone carrier, INS Viraat, carrier-based Sea Harriers, indigenously-built Delhi Class destroyer INS Mysore, Godavari class missile frigate and Shishumar class submarines.
"The two flotilla would engage in simulated air strikes, air defence, shepherding battle ships as well as surface-to- air and sub-sea tactical operations," Rear Admiral DK Joshi, the assistant chief of Naval Staff said. "The thrust of the Malabar-05 exercise this year would also be on counter-terrorism operations at sea, anti-sea piracy and to streamline interoperability."
Joshi said during the exercises, in which Indian Navy's ageing vertical take-off Sea Harriers jets would take on the far superior F-18 hornets, India would also field its Russian acquired TU-142m long-range maritime patrol aircraft as well as Seaking helicopters in both their roles - as anti-submarines and ferrying special marine forces.
The Rear Admiral said during exercises, there would not be any 'cross-landings' or 'cross personnel exchanges', as had been witnessed during Indo-US fighter-to-fighter exercises recently. "The two navies have evolved standard operating procedures, which are regularly tested and updated during these bilateral exercises", Joshi said.
He said these exercises would be followed up by joint Indo-US Naval Special Forces exercises in Guam in the Pacific in January 2006. During the exercises, the P3C Orions, US Navy's long- range maritime reconiassance aircraft would be operating from the Indian Navy's sole land base at Dabolim in Goa.
The US recently offered to the Indian Navy, four Orions from early next year as a prelude to a major government-to- government sale.