Home Middle East US, UAE forces stage live-fire drill in Persian Gulf

US, UAE forces stage live-fire drill in Persian Gulf

UAE Black Hawk helicopters
UAE Black Hawk helicopters operating from USS Lewis B. Puller during the exercise. Photo: US Army

The United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command (JAC) joined US forces for a live-fire exercise in the Persian Gulf between August 9 and 12.

The participating forces, which included units from the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), US Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) and US Special Operations Central Command (SOCCENT) honed their skills in air operations in support of maritime surface warfare (AOMSW).

The exercise included Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) directing live fires at simulated targets from an AC-130W gunship attached to SOCCENT and rotary and fixed wing aircraft attached to the JAC.

It gave Emirati and US pilots a chance to develop strike capabilities together against surface targets such as maritime infrastructure and fast attack craft.

The JTACs, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC), AFCENT and SOCCENT, were stationed aboard a variety of aviation and surface assets, including USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), Cyclone-class patrol coastal ships (PC) attached to NAVCENT Task Force (TF) 55, and MK VI patrol boats assigned to NAVCENT TF 56. Puller also served as an afloat staging platform for both UAE and US aircraft.

Prior to the exercise, UAE pilots prepared by successfully completing deck landing qualifications aboard the Puller.

This also follows joint integration exercises between US Navy, Army, and Air Force assets in March, April and May, featuring shipboard JTACs directing live fires from AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and AC-130W Stinger II gunships.

Photo: US Army