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28/05/23: US, Saudi Arabia and other GCC navies begin military exercises

The Eagle Resolve exercises are held twice a year.

The US began joint military exercises with Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries on Sunday, said the US Central Command (Centcom), the US military’s headquarters in the Middle East.

The statement did not specify which other countries were involved but said the exercise would focus on counter-terrorism, counter-sea mines and air defence co-operation.

Centcom head Gen Michael Kurilla said Eagle Resolve 23 was aimed at “strengthening military-to-military relations throughout the region”.

Eagle Resolve exercises typically involve countries from across the region but also bring in militaries from further afield. In 2015, Kuwait hosted one of the larger training events, with military personnel from 29 contributing countries.

Previous exercises have involved Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt.

"Exercises like Eagle Resolve provide opportunities to demonstrate US-Saudi military co-operation and deepen interoperability across the GCC, all while advancing the security and stability in the Middle East," Gen Kurilla added.

Eagle Resolve exercises are held twice a year, according to the US military.

At least one new piece of military hardware will be involved in the operation, the T-38 Devil Ray unmanned surface vessel, which is used for logistical purposes but which the US military says can be used as part of an AI-assisted “swarm” of other drone vessels.

The boat can cruise at slow speeds, hiding just below the surface but has a “burst mode", under which it can reach nearly 150kph.

The US military also said Boeing P-8 Poseidon, an advanced reconnaissance aircraft, would be involved in the exercise, along with unspecified “fighter aircraft” and a large number of warships including the USS McFaul, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, which can carry 92 missiles of various types, including land attack cruise, anti-ship and anti-aircraft. The ship can also fire torpedoes.

Another ship in the exercise is the USS Lewis B. Puller, which serves as a maritime base for American forces, a logistical hub intended for reducing reliance on foreign ports, and optimised for “light footprint” military operations that do not need thousands of troops, such as counter-terrorism and anti-piracy missions.

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