The US Naval Forces Central Command has called off the remainder of exercise Alligator Dagger, following two separate accidents near the African coast of Djibouti on 3 April.

In the first incident, an AV-8B Harrier aircraft from the US Marine Corps’ (USMC) 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) crashed at Djibouti Ambouli International Airport.

A CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter from the 26th MEU suffered structural damage on the same day during a landing at an approved exercise landing zone at Arta Beach in Djibouti.

The aircrew of the Super Stallion was not injured during the landing and the helicopter was grounded at the landing site for additional evaluation.

“With the occurrence of the two accidents, the US air operations in the East African country has been put on hold.”

With the occurrence of the two accidents, the US air operations in the East African country has been put on hold.

Both incidents are currently under a joint investigation and a safety stand-down has been initiated for all exercise participants.

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Routine operations for other units assigned to the Naval Forces Central Command remain unaffected by the cancellation of the exercise.

US Naval personnel will also continue to carry out maritime security operations throughout the region.

Exercise Alligator Dagger is a routine, scheduled training event that involves US personnel and operations in the areas close to Djibouti and Arta Beach Range.

The exercise is the largest regional amphibious combat rehearsal designed to integrate and synchronise the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade’s warfighting capabilities, and those of adjacent US Naval Forces Central Command and special operations forces units.