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Pakistan, Saudi Arabia conclude series of naval exercises

The Pakistan Navy (PN) and the Royal Saudi Navy Forces (RSNF) concluded a series of naval exercises on 17 February (having begun on 09 February).

At Port al-Jubail in Saudi Arabia, the PN and RSNF conducted the exercise Naseem al-Bahr XI.

According to the Pakistani armed forces’ media branch, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the objective of the exercise was to enhance “interoperability and sharpen tactical proficiency in (sic) Counter Piracy, Anti Air & Surface Warfare and Mine Countermeasure Warfare.”

The first phase of Naseem al-Bahr XI concluded on 12 February, involving the creation of synergy between the RSN and the PN. Tasks included joint operational planning and training onboard PN and RSNF ships to undertake different missions, including amphibious landing operations and ship escort operations.

Naseem al-Bahr XI involved an extensive use of the PN’s aviation assets, including the use of its Lockheed Martin P-3C maritime patrol aircraft (Associated Press of Pakistan) and helicopters, likely the Alouette III.

Concurrently, the PN and RSNF conducted two adjoining exercises: Aff’aa al-Sahil and Dera al-Sahil.

Aff’aa al-Sahil was a joint-special operations forces exercise conducted in Karachi, Pakistan for improving the capacities of both forces to interdict maritime crimes such as trafficking, piracy and terrorism. Under Aff’aa al-Sahild, the PN and RSNF conducted special operations forces (SOF) exercises.

The PN deployed its Sea King helicopters along with its SOF arm the Special Service Group-Navy (SSG-N).

Dera al-Sahil was a joint exercise in Saudi Arabia involving the PN Marines and RSNF Marines, it was aimed at enhancing both countries’ capabilities for defending their respective coasts. The exercise had involved Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain and beach landing operations using Landing Craft Utility vessels.

According (via Arab News) to the Saudi Exercise Director Brig. Gen. Sajir bin Rufaid al-Enezi, the cumulative impact of the three exercises was to prepare both sides for “real maritime operations, conventional warfare and mine action operations.”

The concurrent run of two bilateral exercises in each country follows the pattern set by the respective land forces of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in 2017. In October 2017, the two countries had conducted joint military exercises – i.e. al-Samsam VI and Kaseh I – concurrently in their respective territories.

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