Shield against external threats


Saudi Gazette report

Jubail — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman patronized on Monday the conclusion of the Joint Gulf Shield 1 military drills in Jubail.

“Hosting the Gulf Shield drill with the gathering of forces of more than 24 countries emphasizes our collective capability to work in a coordinated alliance and a military cooperation to confront the threats and dangers that surround our region,” the King tweeted.

Leaders and representatives of 25 countries were present at the closing of the month-long exercise, the largest of its kind in the region in terms of the number of forces and military equipment used.

King Salman, along with Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, received the leaders and representatives prior to the start of the closing drills of Gulf Shield 1.

Those who attended the closing ceremony included Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Bahraini King Hamad Bin Issa Al-Khalifa, Vice President, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The Gulf Shield 1 joint military exercise ensures effective partner response to emerging threats, as well as to support stability and security in the region.

The drill used live-fire and conducted coastal-defense and combat search-and-rescue maneuvers, naval warfare exercises and extensive flying operations.

“The drill constitutes two segments: traditional warfare and hybrid warfare,” said Brig. Gen. Abdullah Subaei, spokesman for Gulf Shield 1. “The event is also meant to demonstrate our ability to take joint military action, the region’s readiness to support Arab unity and its capacity to deter any threats.”

Brig. Gen. Subaei said the region has been facing many threats, including terrorism and extremism, adding: “This exercise demonstrates that we have the cooperation of friendly nations, our experience and expertise to deal with those threats.”

Clarifying the objective of the exercise, the spokesman said it was intended at strengthening military and security cooperation, updating defense mechanisms, keeping abreast of rapidly evolving challenges and risks, and guaranteeing the region’s readiness to shift its stance from defense to attack in the face of any major threat.

A stable Gulf region will also generate investment opportunities and contribute to attracting foreign investment, the spokesman added.

The drill was organized by the Saudi Ministry of Defense.

At the outset of the ceremony, the King and other dignitaries were briefed on the drill’s site, including the coastal village field, modern village, Al-Khair I island, Al-Khair II island, fisheries harbor, industrial facility, and border guard center.

Then, the final maneuver kicked off upon a signal made by the King.

The guests watched the drills that included launching a counterattack on ballistic missiles platformed inside the enemy’s boundaries, chasing naval speed boats off shore, hitting infiltrators into Al-Khair I and Al-Khair II islands, and defending the country’s border through a joint naval, army and air force.

Then the exercise included live artillery maneuvers, repulsing an infiltrating enemy boats and exploding them using border guard helicopters, preventing external support from salvaging the besieged infiltrators, using the Apache fighters to hit targets in Al-Khair II island, supporting the coastal defense forces and destroying the hostile targets, and using the Super Puma to attack the enemy at Al-Khair I island and bar them from fleeing back.

The military parade began with formations of symbolic units of participating forces from 25 friendly countries, following the flag of Saudi Arabia. It included Special Forces units, advanced military vehicles and missile systems that paraded before the King and the leaders of participating countries. Squadrons of aircraft from participating forces made an air show that provided variety of configurations, including those used by attacking aircraft and other multi-task, showed the overall skill and efficiency of the pilots involved. The aircraft formed in the sky a shield representing the countries participating in the exercise.

The show also witnessed parade of several modern aircraft and their missions, including the MRT aircraft, which has the ability to fuel airborne aircraft, at all altitudes, the AWACS, an airborne control system for round-the-clock surveillance, used for offensive and defensive operations and the RJ surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. The K3, a floating fuel station in the sky, helps aircraft stay longer in the air to achieve their missions over the enemy airspace, while the C-130 transport plane missions include cargo and quick and flexible air support.