United States, Israel, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates launch first joint naval training exercise

USS Portland (left) during live-fire training in October 2021 with the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Elisha Smith)

Posted on November 11, 2021 at 6:18 PM by

The maritime executive

The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet joins the navies of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel in a unique maritime security exercise in the Red Sea. The five-day exercise under the leadership of the United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) is seen as an unprecedented naval exercise marking the first time these countries have recognized a shared training exercise made possible by the agreements of 2020 under which Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates normalized. diplomatic relations with Israel.

The exercise was launched Nov. 10 and, according to NAVCENT, will include training at sea aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Portland. The training is designed to improve interoperability between participating forces maritime interdiction teams and will focus on visit, embark, search and seizure tactics.

USS Portland landing craft during October training exercise (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin Kates)

USS Portland had recently stopped at the Israeli port of Eilat after conducting other regional training exercises. After his departure, he has an appointment with the units of the other three navies for the exercises underway in the northern part of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba.

“It is exciting to see US forces training with regional partners to enhance our collective maritime security capabilities,” said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, Commander NAVCENT, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces . “Maritime collaboration helps protect the freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade, which are essential to regional security and stability.

Facilitating the exercise was the United States’ decision earlier this year to transfer responsibility for Israel from the United States Command for Europe (EUCOM) to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM). The move was aimed at facilitating better coordination with US forces and strengthening regional cooperation. The exercise is led by the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain and responsible for naval operations in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean, as well as the Straits of Ormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab-al-Mandeb.

Commenting on the joint exercise, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman said they believed that “the training would mark the start of cooperation between countries against Iranian establishment in maritime space. This is an important first step, after a more modest exercise which took place at the end of last August. “

The current naval exercise is also part of a larger training effort in the region. According to the IDF, an anonymous US aircraft carrier landed 500 US Marines near Eilat for a two-week joint multi-force training including dense urban combat capabilities and multi-domain capabilities. Also in October, the US Air Force joined other international forces in an exercise with the Israel Air Force. The United Arab Emirates participated in air training with France and Germany. The UAE Air Force chief observed but their planes did not fly during the exercises.


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Richard V. Johnson

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