The multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express 2021 (CE21) has commenced near Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar and the Seychelles.

Maritime forces from Georgia, India, Kenya, Comoros, Djibouti, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, Rwanda, the UK, Sudan and the US are participating in the exercise.

Sponsored by the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), the exercise is being conducted by the US Naval Forces Africa. It will run until 6 August.

The exercise is designed to assess and improve regional cooperation in support of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, create maritime domain awareness, and promote national and regional security in East Africa.

Furthermore, it will enable participating nations to cooperate in information sharing, planning and operating.

The US Navy noted that the exercise includes in-port training, at-sea scenarios, and a senior leadership symposium.

CE21 will start with an in-port training period. During the exercise, the participating ships will be put through their paces to evaluate their capability to carry out maritime interdiction operations.

This portion of the exercise will see boarding teams take on simulated suspect vessels, identify illicit activity, and evidence collection procedures.

According to US Navy, the all-domain exercise is related to US Central Command’s (USCENTCOM) International Maritime Exercise.

The Cutlass Express 2019.2 (CE 19.2) was the second iteration of the maritime exercise held in the Western Indian Ocean in 2019.

It involved forces from East Africa, North America, Europe, and West Indian Ocean nations.

The 17-day CE 19.2 exercise was conducted in the area near Madagascar, Djibouti, Mauritius, and Seychelles.

CE 19.2 was designed to eliminate regional seams and enhance interoperability between US and partner nations.