WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth made its debut when it participated in the Exercise Malabar for the first time in the Bay of Bengal.
Exercise Malabar was a joint military exercise between naval forces from the United States, India and Japan, with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force participating as a permanent member for the first time in the program's history. The exercise aims to improve collective military maritime relationships between the countries involved. The exercises concluded on Monday.
Fort Worth's commanding officer Cmdr. Christopher Brown said the harbor phase of Malabar 2015 was good for his crew.
"This was the first-ever participation of a littoral combat ship in Exercise Malabar and the sea phase provided a unique opportunity for Fort Worth to operate hull-to-hull with ships from both the Indian navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force," Brown said in a statement. "What we learned from each other will go a long way toward advancing our navies' interoperability in this critical area of operations."
Brown added that additional exercises in Malabar 2015 included gunning drills, strike warfare, maneuvering, air defense, communication, search and rescue, and others. In addition to bolstering combat skills, the program also aims to publicly display the military power and presence in the region.
Fort Worth is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship of the U.S. Navy. The ship was launched in December 2010, but did not go into active service until 2015