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Israeli Navy holds joint security patrol with US 5th fleet

CM 01/09/2021

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The Israeli Navy participated in a combined maritime security patrol with the US Naval Forces Central Command’s 5th Fleet in the Red Sea for the first time on Tuesday.
Three Israeli ships – the INS Eilat and two patrol boats – sailed alongside the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey and a US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft that flew overhead.
The forces also drilled on search and rescue scenarios, air defense, high-value unit defense and small boat operations, as well as tactical defensive maneuvers.

The head of IDF naval operations Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari said that the strategic cooperation between the forces is vital for regional security and that of the State of Israel.
“The partnership with the Fifth Fleet is a strategic partnership for the security of the region and the security of Israel,” he said. “This exercise is the beginning of a cooperation that will expand and increase the circles of defense and security in the maritime space to prevent terrorist acts.”
The drill was the “opening shot” for joint work between the Israeli Navy and the 5th Fleet as part of Israel’s move to CENTCOM’s area of responsibility from EUCOM, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
“Our navies are ushering in a new era of expanded cooperation and capacity building,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “We are partnering in new ways, which is essential for preserving security in today’s dynamic maritime environment.”
The move to CENTCOM is believed to not only simplify the cooperation with American troops in the region, but can also create the potential for a regional coalition with Arab countries that have normalized ties with Israel against shared threats posed by Iran.
“Combined patrols like these help maintain regional maritime security and stability,” Capt. Robert Francis, commodore for NAVCENT’s Task Force 55 controlling US Navy surface assets in the Middle East, was quoted as saying. “The collaboration has been tremendous. We share a common understanding with our international counterparts that there is strength in unity.”
Israeli Navy holds joint security patrol with US 5th fleet (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)Israeli Navy holds joint security patrol with US 5th fleet (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)
The US 5th Fleet’s area of operations encompasses some 2.5 million square miles and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb. 
With Israel’s addition, the region now comprises 21 countries.
In August, Israeli Air Force pilots flew alongside their counterparts from the United States Air Force Central Command (AFCENT) in a first-of-a-kind aerial drill.
Dubbed “Desert Eagle,” the drill was led by the IAF’s 133rd Knights of the Twin-Tail Squadron flying F-15s along with the USAF’s 494th Squadron. Jets from the 115th Flying Dragon Squadron simulated enemy jets.
According to a statement released by the IAF, the “aircrews practiced various operational scenarios in the air, including joint exercises against ground, aerial and combined threats while striking designated targets.
“The historic cooperation between the Israel Air Force and AFCENT Command is part of the tightening of strategic and long-term cooperation between Israel and the United States,” the statement said.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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