Ships of the Royal Australian Navy, Indian Navy, U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sail in formation during exercise Malabar. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Keenan Daniels)

INDIAN OCEAN - Maritime forces from Australia, India, Japan, and the United States completed Phase II of the multilateral naval exercise, Malabar 2020, Nov. 20.

The exercise improved integration between Australian, Indian, Japanese, and U.S. maritime forces and provided an opportunity to conduct engagements highlighting cooperation between allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.

"The exercises conducted during MALABAR provided opportunities to enhance our interoperability and strengthens our maritime partnerships with India, Australia, and Japan," said Capt. Elaine Collins, commander, Destroyer Squadron 9. "Our ability to replenish ships at sea, conduct live firing exercises and communicate with one another, ship-to-ship, demonstrate our cooperation and shared goals of fostering security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region."

With the arrival of Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in Phase II, nations involved were able to further strengthening the integration of their naval air forces through air and air defense exercises.

“Operating with Australia, India, and Japan via cross-deck landings, carrier landing approaches and aerial refueling during Malabar has been instrumental in enhancing the compatibility of our naval air forces,” said Capt. Todd Cimicata, commander, Carrier Air Wing 17. “We are honored by the professionalism of our partners, and look forward to flying together again as we reinforce our mutual desire to improve maritime security in the global commons.”

The events of Phase II of Malabar included a photo exercise, night operations, air defense exercises, helicopter cross-deck evolutions, carrier landing approaches, underway replenishment approaches, gunnery exercises, and antisubmarine warfare exercises.

“HMAS Ballarat’s participation in Exercise Malabar demonstrates Australia’s enduring commitment to contribute to the security, stability and prosperity of the region,” said Cmdr. Anthony Pisani, commanding officer of Ballarat.

Malabar 2020 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises that have grown in scope and complexity over the years to address the variety of shared threats to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, where the U.S. Navy has patrolled for more than 70 years promoting regional peace and security.

Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is currently deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.

Commanding Officer Cmdr. Andrew Koy and other USS Sterett (DDG 104) crew members wave to the crew of INS Kolkata as the Indian Navy destroyer passes by during exercise Malabar. (U.S. Navy/MCSN Drace Wilson)

Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Samuel Wolford signals to the pilots of a Royal Australian Navy MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter during a cross deck landing exercise aboard USS Princeton (CG 59) as part of Malabar. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Logan C. Kellums)

An E-2C Hawkeye from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116 launches from USS Nimitz (CVN 68) during Malabar. (U.S. Navy/MCSN Bryant Lang)

Sailors direct an Indian Navy Sea King Mk42B helicopter during a Malabar cross deck landing exercise on the flight deck of USS Sterett (DDG 104). (U.S. Navy/MCSN Drace Wilson)

USS Nimitz (CVN 68) steams ahead of the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) while participating in Malabar. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Elliot Schaudt)

Royal Australian Navy, Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and U.S. Navy ships steam in formation to kick off the second phase of Malabar 2020. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Elliot Schaudt)

USS Sterett (DDG 104) and the Indian Navy's INS Kolkata steam in formation during Malabar. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Dalton Reidhead)

Ships from the Royal Australian Navy, Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and U.S. Navy steam in formation during Malabar. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Jose Madrigal)