By Huang Zijuan
A number of naval ships from the US, Japan and India will participate in Malabar 2018 naval exercise off the coast of Guam from June 6 to 15, according to media reports from India. The Chinese military expert Du Wenlong said in an interview with China Central Television that the target of the exercise is the Chinese submarines and the drill is intended to limit China’s underwater activities.
According to Indian media reports, the ships participating in the exercises all constitute as main combat forces of the naval anti-submarine warfare operations of these countries. The participating ships are equipped with advanced anti-submarine equipment and weapons and the joint anti-submarine warfare will be the core of the drill.
India will send three ships from its Eastern Fleet, along with the Indian Navy’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft. The US will send warships including the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its shipborne early-warning aircraft, fighter jets, an attack-type nuclear submarine, and P-8A patrol aircraft. Japan will also dispatch a helicopter carrier, a Sōryū-class submarine, and a P-1 maritime patrol aircraft.
But why is the joint anti-submarine operations the main subject of the Malabar 2018 US-Japan-India joint drill?
Du Wenlong believes that the joint drill aims to form an integrated air-surface-underwater anti-submarine network to target Chinese submarines and to limit China's underwater activities. At present, this so-called anti-submarine methods can theoretically play a deterring role. However, in actual combat, this deterrence effect is low.
"As for the so-called anti-submarine warfare, we have many means to respond. For example, we can reduce the noise of the submarines. With continuous technological improvement, our shock absorption and noise reduction technology has reached the world's advanced level," Du Wenlong said.
Tactical coordination is also very important for conducting anti-submarine operations. For example, submarines can conduct stealth activities in the designated sea area with the help of surface and air operations. So, it's still a big challenge to locate a submarine in actual combat. Therefore, even though the target of this joint drill is underwater activities in China, the actual combat value is quite low.
Du believes that this joint drill also aims to promote the advanced anti-submarine equipment of the US. At present, Japan has developed a large number of P-1 anti-submarine aircraft. Although India has purchased a certain number of P-8 anti-submarine aircraft, it is far from enough for the US. If Japan and India can purchase a large number of US anti-submarine equipment in accordance with the US standards, it will have an important significance in binding allies, strengthening the so-called strategic alliance, and expanding arms sales.
Disclaimer: The author is Huang Zijuan, reporter with the People’s Daily. The article is translated from Chinese into English and reedited by the China Military online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn. Chinamil.com.cn does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. If the article carries photographs or images, we do not vouch for their authenticity.