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UAE, U.S. Forces Conduct Aviation Live Fire Exercise in Arabian Gulf

ntegration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways.

A U.S. Air Force aerial gunner moves 30mm shells onboard an AC-130W Stinger II during air operations in support of a maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces over the Arabian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Duncan C. Bevan)

ntegration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways.

A U.S. Air Force aerial gunner removes a casing from a 105mm M102 howitzer onboard an AC-130W Stinger II during air operations in support of a maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces over the Arabian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Duncan C. Bevan)

ntegration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways.

Two U.S. Air Force aerial gunners operate a 105mm M102 howitzer onboard an AC-130W Stinger II during air operations in support of a maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces over the Arabian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Duncan C. Bevan)

ntegration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways.

A U.S. Air Force aerial gunner pulls a 105mm from its rack onboard an AC-130W Stinger II during air operations in support of a maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces over the Arabian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Duncan C. Bevan)

ntegration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways.

A U.S. Air Force aerial gunner operates a 30mm ATK GAU-23/A autocannon onboard an AC-130W Stinger II during air operations in support of a maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces over the Arabian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Duncan C. Bevan)

ntegration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways.

U.S. Air Force AC-130W Stinger II aircrew participate in air operations in support of a maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces over the Arabian Gulf, Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region's heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Duncan C. Bevan)

An inflatable target takes fire from an AC-130W Stinger II gunship, attached to Special Operations Command Central, during an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)

200811-A-FT904-1022 ARABIAN GULF (Aug. 11, 2020). An inflatable target takes fire from an AC-130W Stinger II gunship, attached to Special Operations Command Central, during an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)

A helicopter, assigned to United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command, participates in an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways.

200811-A-FT904-1038 ARABIAN GULF (August 11, 2020) A helicopter, assigned to United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command, participates in an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)

Sailors assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 56, cast an inflatable target off a Mark VI patrol craft during an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)

200811-A-FT904-1029 ARABIAN GULF (August 11, 2020). Sailors assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 56, cast an inflatable target off a Mark VI patrol craft during an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)

An AC-130W Stinger II gunship, attached to Special Operations Command Central participates in an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)
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200811-A-FT904-1022 ARABIAN GULF (Aug. 11, 2020) An AC-130W Stinger II gunship, attached to Special Operations Command Central participates in an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise with United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command forces in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)

A UH-60M Black Hawk multi-mission helicopter, attached to United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command, participates in an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)
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200811-A-FT904-1013 ARABIAN GULF (Aug. 11, 2020) A UH-60M Black Hawk multi-mission helicopter, attached to United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command, participates in an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)

Two UH-60M Black Hawk multi-mission helicopters, attached to United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command, land on expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B Puller (ESB 3) during an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)
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200811-A-FT904-1002 ARABIAN GULF (Aug. 11, 2020) Two UH-60M Black Hawk multi-mission helicopters, attached to United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command, land on expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B Puller (ESB 3) during an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare exercise in the Arabian Gulf Aug. 11, 2020. Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Clegg)

ARABIAN GULF - The United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command (JAC), U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), U.S. Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) and U.S. Special Operations Central Command (SOCCENT) conducted an air operations in support of maritime surface warfare (AOMSW) exercise in the Arabian Gulf, Aug. 9-12.

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 U.S. pilots a chance to hone strike capabilities together against surface targets such as maritime infrastructure and fast attack craft.

“Interoperability is a key to success in any domain,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Ashton Sawyer, chief of the AFCENT Air Warfare Center’s (AWC) Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C2ISR) branch. “Constant training ensures our combined forces are ready to defend against any enemy.”

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 U.S. aircraft.

“JTACs operate on the ground as the eyes providing a vital link between the air and surface,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Tatum, an AFCENT AWC JTAC. “We are responsible for the safety of friendly aircraft while providing strike control of nearby assets.”

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

This also follows joint integration exercises between U.S. 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.

Participating U.S. forces included NAVCENT TFs 55, 56 and 57, the USS Lewis B. Puller, SPMAGTF-CR-CC, SOCCENT, and the AFCENT AWC located at Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE.  

Integration operations between UAE and U.S. maritime forces are regularly held to maintain interoperability and the capability to counter threats posed in the maritime domain, ensuring freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce throughout the region’s heavily trafficked waterways.

“Our robust, joint and combined training increases our skill sets to ensure regional security and remains an important pillar of our military relationship with the United Arab Emirates”, said Brig. Gen. Farrell J. Sullivan, commanding general, Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.