Naval forces from the United Arab Emirates and United States began a 10-day maritime exercise, June 13, in the Arabian Gulf. Exercise Iron Defender is an annual bilateral training event between U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and forces from the United Arab Emirates. The exercise focuses on maritime security operations, mine countermeasures and harbor defense.
“The United Arab Emirates is a longstanding strategic partner. This is an excellent opportunity to deepen bilateral ties and train with our highly capable Emirati partners,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “We are stronger when we work together.”
More than 600 U.S. personnel from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are participating. U.S. Navy ships USS Momsen (DDG 92), USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3) and USNS Catawba (T-ATF-168) are participating at sea with U.S. Coast Guard cutters USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) and USCGC Baranof (WPB 1318).
NAVCENT is headquartered in Manama, Bahrain and includes U.S. forces operating in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Bab al-Mandeb.