U.S. Forces Conduct Joint Aviation Integration Exercise with UAE and Saudi Arabia

By 5th Fleet Public Affairs - NAVCENT | June 08, 2021

MANAMA, Bahrain – U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) conducted multiple simultaneous, joint air operations in support of maritime surface warfare (AOMSW) exercises with United Arab Emirates (UAE) Coast Guard and Joint Aviation Command (JAC), and Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) in the Arabian Gulf, June 1-2.

The multi-positional exercises demonstrated NAVCENT’s ability to conduct separate joint air and surface operations with partners in different locations, simultaneously.

“Our AOMSW capabilities continue to grow exponentially alongside our partners and joint counterparts,” said Capt. Chris Gilbertson, commander of Destroyer Squadron 50 and Task Force 55, who led the planning and execution of the exercises. “Training at this level of complexity strengthens our ability to communicate, provide command and control and effectively operate across separate groups of forces in different locations.”

The AOMSW exercises included Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) directing a wide variety of platforms to conduct maritime strikes against simulated surface threats attempting to attack coalition forces.

Participating platforms included UAE AH-64D Apache and MH-60M Direct Action Penetrator (DAP) attack helicopters, U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon multi-role fighters; the RSNF Al Sadiq-class patrol boat Khalid (519); U.S. Navy MH-60R Sea Hawk and MH-60S Night Hawk helicopters, U.S. Navy patrol coastal ships USS Tempest (PC 2), USS Hurricane (PC 3), USS Chinook (PC 9), USS Firebolt (PC 10), USS Thunderbolt (PC 12), guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57), guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) and U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats USCGC Adak (WPB 1333), USCGC Baranof (WPB 1318).

A P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft provided exercise-related command and control and reconnaissance support.

“This kind of high-level training with so many partners on multiple fronts at the same time shows how scalable our capabilities are,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “Our joint forces are always ready to respond to maritime threats, alongside our regional and coalition partners, whenever and wherever necessary.”

The 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three chokepoints, critical to the free flow of global commerce.