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February 5, 2021

US, UK and Saudi naval forces conclude exercise Nautical Defender 21

The US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) and UK Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) have concluded Nautical Defender 21 (ND 21) exercise.

The US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) and UK Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) have concluded Nautical Defender 21 (ND 21) exercise.

This year, the tri-lateral maritime exercise was conducted in the Arabian Gulf from 20-29 January.

It was led by captain Christopher Gilbertson, commander of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 50 and Commander, Task Force (CTF) 55.

Gilbertson said: “This was the largest Nautical Defender exercise we’ve participated in thus far with significant contributions by all participants.

“With such a large, complex force, we were able to conduct in depth training across a wide variety of skill sets.”

The exercise offered an opportunity for the forces to practise and enhance skills and techniques related to maritime security, coastal harbour defence, counter-unmanned aerial systems, shipboard gunnery, diving and mine clearance.

Crews onboard a range of surface platforms, such as destroyers or patrol craft, maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, fixed wing fighter aircraft, helicopters and more participated in several simulated scenarios.

The ND 21 also saw the integration of an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare (AOMSW) drill for the first time.

Gilbertson added: “Our coalition forces are becoming increasingly more flexible and formidable as we involve AOMSW in more and more combined training opportunities.”

In November last year, the RSNF, the UK Royal Navy and the US Navy conducted a mine countermeasures (MCM) interoperability training in the Arabian Gulf.

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