Indonesia kicked off its biennial Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo (MNEK) 2016 in Padang Indonesia on April 12 with an opening ceremony and the arrival of ships from 35 countries in the city for an international fleet review (See: “Indonesia’s Naval Power in the Spotlight with Exercise, Fleet Review and Symposium”).
The second iteration of Exercise Komodo includes a harbor phase with a fleet review as well as a sea phase training scenario where participating navies will collaborate to boost information sharing and maritime cooperation.
The United States is one of the countries participating in Komodo 2016, which also features all 18 ASEAN-Plus nations (the 10 ASEAN countries plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United States).
According to a statement on U.S. involvement issued by Task Force 73 – a U.S. Navy task force of the Seventh Fleet which coordinates exercises for Southeast Asia – during the harbor phase, U.S. Navy Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 planned to work alongside naval engineers on a civil-military project, while sailors from the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG-106) and Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 were scheduled to participate in community service projects at Padang Beach and a cultural exchange with students at Andalas University.
During the sea phase, U.S. assets and personnel participating will include the USS Stockdale as well as a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The P-8A Poseidon has received significant attention over the past few years due to its growing involvement in the South China Sea, from aerial incidents with China to rotational deployments in Singapore (See: “US, Singapore Agree Spy Plane Deployment Amid South China Sea Tensions”).
Also participating will be the Seabees from NMCB 4 and staff from Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7.
“We are very excited to go to sea and execute a challenging sea phase in support of Komodo 2016,” Cmdr. Sean Grunwell commanding officer of the USS Stockdale said in the statement seen by The Diplomat. “This exercise allows our sailors to showcase their skills as professional mariners as we operate together at sea with ships from navies throughout the region.”
Komodo 2016 is the second iteration of the exercise which began in Batam, Indonesia in 2014.