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​Gulf SOF operators refine tactics

09th April 2017 - 13:00 by Andrew White in London

​Gulf SOF operators refine tactics

Special operations forces from across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) coalition continue to refine their approach to counter-terrorism (CT) and counter-insurgency (COIN) missions as part of Exercise Eagle Resolve.

Aimed to develop concepts of operation, and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) associated with CT and COIN and conducted between 19 March and 19 April, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) sponsored exercise is seeing participation from Kuwait, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with instruction from the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

Participating force elements include Kuwait's 25th Commando Group; Qatar's Special Operations Command; KSA's Maritime Security Units, Special Forces Companies and Saudi Emergency Force (SEF); as well as the UAE Special Operations Command.

CT serials have focused on ground and maritime operations including a simulated Ground Assault Force (GAF) against a fortified position, providing operators the chance to demonstrate room clearance; counter-improvised explosive device; casualty evacuation; and site sensitive exploitation (SSE) TTPs.

Conducted at Abdali Farms in Kuwait on 2 April, the GAF comprised an accumulation of skills taught to SOF teams seeking to enhance interoperability and cooperation across the GCC as well as internationally.

On 3 April, participating force elements conducted a maritime CT (MCT) serial in Kuwaiti territorial waters with assault teams tasked with responding to a rapidly evolving hostage situation on board an oil tanker.

Training serials included assault teams inserting onto the deck of the vessel from rotary wing platforms via fast-rope descents as well as visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) from intercept crafts.

CENTCOM officials stated: 'Special forces teams from the GCC, and US Naval Special Warfare [Command] and rigid-hull inflatable boat teams simulated an air and sea-borne rapid insertion, search and seizure of the occupied tanker and its hijackers, and the safe release of the tanker crewmen.

'The raid was a cumulative joint exercise that tested the participants' tactical skills and abilities to operate cohesively in an operational mission with our GCC partner nations,' it was added with reference to ongoing cooperation in the areas of asymmetric warfare in 'low risk settings'.

Having been conducted across the Arabian Peninsula since 1999, CENTCOM describes Exercise Eagle Resolve as a month-long multilateral exercise focused on enhancing exercise participants' ability to '…respond as a multinational headquarters staff, followed by a series of tactical demonstrations of land, maritime, and air forces from several nations'.

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