Joint training exercises mark enduring Saudi-US partnership


The United States is committed to deepening ties with Saudi Arabia via enhanced military training programs and expanded defense cooperation.

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US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft were deployed to the Royal Saudi Air Force's Spears of Victory exercise in Saudi Arabia in February. [US Air Force]
US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft were deployed to the Royal Saudi Air Force's Spears of Victory exercise in Saudi Arabia in February. [US Air Force]

The participation of the United States in Saudi Arabia's multinational military exercises is one sign of the two nations' enduring partnership and their shared commitment to regional security and lasting cooperation.

Washington recently brought advanced aircraft and military experts to the Spears of Victory exercise, which the Royal Saudi Air Force hosted February 4-15 at King Abdulaziz Air Base.

Spearheaded by the Royal Saudi Air Force, Spears of Victory was meant to foster teamwork, improve interoperability and improve tactics among participating nations.

The exercise built confidence by familiarizing operators with a wide array of aircraft in various contingencies.

The facilities involved in the drill included six maintenance hangars capable of accommodating two aircraft each, together with 24 aircraft sun shelters.

"Exercises like Spears of Victory are critical to ensuring we can best protect our respective countries and provide regional stability," said US Air Force Maj. Gen. David Mineau, 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) and Deputy Combined Forces Air Component Commander.

The United States brought state-of-the-art equipment and expertise to the exercise, including KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft and specialists in command and control, security and other essential functions.

Investing in training and partnerships

In addition to participation in Spears of Victory, the United States has worked alongside Saudi forces and offered regular training over the years.

Last December, the United States renewed a training program for Saudi Arabia worth $1 billion, another sign of the enduring relations between the two countries.

US-Saudi cooperation has also included special drills like Native Fury, a biennial exercise in which US and Saudi troops work together on strategic access and refined command and control.

Most recently, the eighth iteration of Native Fury in May included the US Marine Corps and Saudi and United Arab Emirates forces. The partner forces engaged in on-load and off-load operations using commercial maritime shipping, long-distance convoys and urban combat training.

Other training exercises include a first-of-its-kind joint military exercise last March, when Saudi Arabia and the United States completed a counter-drone training at the new Red Sands Integrated Experimentation Center in Riyadh.

Last summer, air forces from Saudi Arabia and the United States held a training and drill at King Faisal Air Base in Saudi Arabia and the Eagle Resolve 23 joint exercise with other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

And in November 2022, the navies of the United States, United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia completed a week-long maritime exercise called Nautical Defender.

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