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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Eagle drills in the Red Sea

Units participating in the Eagle Salute/Eagle Response 2019 exercises, which began last week in Egyptian territorial waters in the Red Sea, are rounding up their activities, reports Ahmed Eleiba

Ahmed Eleiba , Friday 2 Aug 2019
Eagle drills
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Egyptian, US and UAE naval and air forces are taking part in the naval drills, while Saudi Arabia is participating as an observer.

Eagle Salute is a surface exercise designed to enhance collaboration in the performance of joint combat activities, strengthen interoperability between participant units and enhance operational capacities. Eagle Response focused on detecting and neutralising maritime mines, alongside a range of maritime security operations related to unconventional warfare.

Activities included search and rescue operations, detecting hostile submarines, day and night-time targeting using live ammunition and refuelling at sea. There were simulated combat drills involving the defence of vital maritime facilities and participant special force teams carried out visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations.

Exercises involving both offensive and defensive formations highlighted the degree of coordination and compatibility between participant units, and their ability to respond effectively to a variety of challenges.

Egypt’s participation in Eagle Salute/Eagle Response underlined the Egyptian military’s commitment to further developing the combat readiness and efficacy of all units and honing their skills at planning and managing joint naval force activities.

Meanwhile, responding to an invitation from US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper, Egypt’s Minister of Defence General Mohamed Zaki flew to Washington earlier this week at the head of a military delegation. Wide-ranging bilateral talks are scheduled, including discussions of how to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries.

This week also saw the first shipment of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles from the United States arrive in Alexandria. The heavily armoured MRAP vehicles are designed to protect soldiers from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), landmines and types of attacks. The delivery is the first of 762 MRAP vehicles the US is transferring to Egypt. The MRAPs will be used to combat terrorism and promote stability in the region, said the statement issued by the US embassy.

Originally designed to support US military operations in Afghanistan, MRAPs provide soldiers with enhanced levels of protection to soldiers. According to the US embassy defence official Major General Charles Hooper, “the delivery of these MRAPs to Egypt provides a crucial capability needed during these times of regional instability and is part of the continuing strong relationship between the US and Egypt.”

This delivery of the MRAPs is part of the US Department of Defense’s Excess Defense Articles Grant Program under which the vehicles are being transferred at no cost to Egypt. The delivery is the latest step taken by the US government in support of Egypt’s fight against terrorism and is part of a broad range of military cooperation initiatives between the two countries.

 *A version of this article appears in print in the 31 July, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Eagle drills

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