The US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) has announced the beginning of International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 2023 in Bahrain’s capital city Manama.

IMX 2023 is one of the largest exercises in the Middle East. This marks the eighth edition of the IMX since its establishment in 2012.

The exercise started on 26 February and will continue until 16 March.

The latest iteration of IMX will also be linked to the US Naval Forces Africa’s (NAVAF) multilateral exercise Cutlass Express (CE) 2023.

The opening ceremony of exercise CE23 is scheduled to be held in Djibouti on 5 March. It will conclude on 17 March.

The integrated activity involves the participation of nearly 50 partner nations and international organisations.

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It includes Bahrain, the Netherlands, Canada, Qatar, Pakistan and Oman, among other nations.

Around 7,000 military personnel, a total of 35 naval vessels and more than 30 uncrewed and artificial intelligence (AI) systems will also be deployed in support of this event.

The combined effort is expected to eliminate the regional limitations and boost the overall combined capabilities of the participating countries.

During the exercise, the participating nations will undertake a series of training activities and missions in the Arabian Sea, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Oman and the Red Sea, and around the East African coastal regions.

The drills have been designed to primarily focus on five main areas, including maritime security, mine countermeasures, combined command and control, uncrewed systems and AI integration and global health.

The previous edition of the IMX was also held in conjunction with Cutlass Express and involved the participation of 9,000 personnel, 80 uncrewed systems and 50 ships.