Home Asia Pacific US Navy joins India’s Milan exercise for first time

US Navy joins India’s Milan exercise for first time

US Navy Milan 2022 participants
US Navy photo of Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) makes a brief stop for logistics in Singapore Feb. 18.

A guide missile destroyer and a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft have become the first US Navy assets to join the Indian Navy’s major naval maneuver Milan 2022.

USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and the Poseidon from Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 joined with ships, aircraft and personnel from India and numerous other navies to begin the exercise in the Bay of Bengal, February 25.

Milan in Hindi means “meeting”. The first exercise Milan took place in 1995 with four navies and has taken place every two years since. This is the first Exercise Milan since 2018 as the 2020 iteration was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s exercise is focused on enhancing professional interaction between professional navies and gaining experience in multilateral large force operations at sea.

The exercise is scheduled to include a harbor phase followed by a sea phase where the ships will focus on a variety of high-end tactical training, maneuvering drills, air-defense exercises, submarine familiarization, multinational replenishment-at-sea, communications drills, gunnery exercise, and joint warfighting scenarios.

“Milan provides an opportunity for like-minded navies that sharing a common vision of a more stable, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, to operate and train alongside one another,” said Cmdr. David Catterall, commanding officer, USS Fitzgerald. “We are grateful for India’s hosting this important event and their efforts to harmonize our contributions to the region, and look forward to ensuring future engagements to build strong alliances and partnerships.”

Exercise Milan includes forces from Australia, Bangladesh, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

The last multinational exercise the US participated in in the Indian Ocean was Malabar, in Oct. 2021, a QUAD maritime exercise with the Royal Australian Navy, Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and US Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Arunta (FFH 151) transited with Fitzgerald during a group sail ahead of Exercise Milan commencing.

Fitzgerald is underway conducting operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, while assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the US 7th Fleet’s principal surface force.

The “Golden Swordsmen” of VP-47 are part of Commander Task Force (CTF) 72, are stationed in Whidbey Island, Washington, and are currently deployed to Misawa Air Base in Aomori, Japan. Throughout the deployment, they will be conducting maritime patrol and reconnaissance and theater outreach operations within the 7th Fleet area of operations.