australian aviation logo

RAAF F-35s join Exercise Malabar

written by Adam Thorn | August 14, 2023

A RAAF F-35A Lightning ll shot in WA in July 2023 (Defence, LACW Annika Smit)

RAAF F-35s are taking part in Exercise Malabar after the training program kicked off in Australia for the first time on Thursday.

The event, now in its 27th year, includes personnel from India, Japan and the US, while other aircraft taking part include Hawk 127, P-8A Poseidon and the MH60R Seahawk.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said hosting Malabar was an honour.

“Amid the current strategic circumstances, it is more important than ever we partner with our neighbours and deepen our defence partnerships,” he said.

“Cooperation, shared understanding and knowledge, coupled with training, contributes to shared security and prosperity for our region.”


Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AO, recognised the Indian Navy for the opportunity to host the event.

“The Royal Australian Navy is honoured the Indian Navy has provided us the opportunity to host Exercise Malabar, reinforcing the trust and strength of our navy-to-navy relationship.

“This esteemed exercise provides rich opportunities for our people to work and train together, to be prepared as high-functioning teams ready to face the complex challenges of the maritime domain.”

“Exercise Malabar is an investment in Australia’s navy-to-navy relationships, as well as the relationship between the four navies involved. In this way, we complement diplomatic efforts to deepen our regional ties and contribute to a region based on trust and respect.”

The exercise began with a harbour phase, including cultural exchanges and an Australia versus India cricket match.

It will then transition to a sea phase, with practice for boarding operations.

Commanding Officer Commander Kingsley Scarce was looking forward to highlighting the capability of his crew and the Hobart-class destroyer.

“It’s my personal responsibility to maximise the combat capability of this ship, and I use exercises like Malabar to make sure we are ready to do whatever the government needs us to,” Commander Scarce said.

The exercise also includes ships’ gun crews practising engagement of surface targets using various weapons.

One of Brisbane’s 5-inch gun crew is Able Seaman Jedd Bushell, who said it was important to regularly fire to maintain skills.

“It’s always been fascinating seeing other nation’s navies and how they like to do things. We always learn a lot,” Able Seaman Bushell said.

“It’s all about working together with our allied partners and performing serials to see how well we work together as a team.”

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member today!

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.