SOURCE: Arab News
Time: April 16, 2018
Jeddah: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and heads of state and senior representatives from 25 countries, on Monday, attended the closing ceremony of the Joint Gulf Shield-1 military drills.
King Salman presided over the closing ceremony of the drills, which he said highlighted a “unified alliance” between over 24 countries to combat military threats.
“The event is… 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,” military spokesman Abdullah Subaei was quoted as saying in a Saudi information ministry statement.
“This exercise demonstrates that we have the cooperation of friendly nations, our experience and expertise to deal with those threats.
The parades included special forces units, with advanced military vehicles and missile systems and involved combat search-and-rescue drills as well as naval warfare and air operations. Aircraft of the participating air forces carried out various maneuvers that reflected the skills and efficiencies of the pilots.
Several modern aircraft were showcased, including the MRTT, which can carry up to 111 tons of fuel, the highest capacity of all tanker aircraft. It also included auxiliary military aircraft, fighters and attack aircraft featuring auxiliary power systems, as well as the airborne early warning and control system (AWACS), which is an airborne radar picket system designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long range.
Aircraft flew in shield formation, in acknowledgement of the overall exercise’s appellation.
The show also featured a K-3, a floating fuel station in the sky, allowing aircraft to stay longer in the air in order to achieve their targets and the C-130 transport plane, which is used for quick and flexible cargo transport, troop transfers and aid drops.
A variety of helicopters were also on display, including three high-powered rapid response Apache helicopters, with the capacity to strike from a multiplicity of distances and primarily used to destroy tanks and armored vehicles.
Cougar aircraft, which are utilized for search and rescue operations and the Super-Puma aircraft, used to carry out combat operations against naval targets and to pass information to fleet control centers, also featured. Assembled dignitaries also reviewed a formation of Black Hawk aircraft, which are used to transport personnel.
Finally, Typhoon and F-15S aircraft engaged in mock combat maneuvers.
The Joint Gulf Shield-1 military maneuvers reflect the importance of military cooperation and coordination, with friendly countries, in raising the level of combat readiness and ensuring regional security.