GULF OF OMAN –
The U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Royal Navy of Oman, United Kingdom’s Royal Navy and French Marine Nationale concluded Exercise Khunjar Haad, Feb. 8.
The exercise was part of a routine theater security cooperation engagement plan and an opportunity for all participating partner nations to focus on increasing defensive proficiency in critical mission areas while supporting long-term regional stability and freedom of navigation.
“The purpose of this exercise at sea was to conduct multi-threat training with a multi-national task group that operated together at sea to enhance maritime security by strengthening our capabilities of our surface, air and explosive ordnance disposal forces,” said Lt. Cmdr. Richard Mayer, commanding officer of USS Hurricane (PC 3).
Eleven ships from the four partner nations participated in the exercise. Khunjar Haad featured a variety of evolutions consisting of air-defense, surface, helicopter, officer-of-the-watch, expeditionary warfare, screen and naval communication exercises.
“I would say the biggest take away is learning the capabilities of our coalition forces,” said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Lavashti Washington, communications officer onboard USS Hurricane. “Hopefully I’ll get to participate next year and take what we learned this year and build upon it to get even better.”
Participating ships included: coastal patrol ships USS Hurricane and USS Firebolt (PC 10); island-class patrol boats USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and USCGC Aquidneck (WPB 1309); French Navy Horizon-class air defense destroyer Chevalier Paul (D 621); United Kingdom’s Royal Navy ships RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009), HMS Ledbury (M30) and HMS Bangor (M109); and Royal Navy of Oman ships Al Dhafirah, Al Muazzar and Al Bat’nah.
“The Omani’s did a fantastic job planning and executing all missions,” said Lt. John Beal, commanding officer of Aquidneck. “My crew was very pleased to be a part of it.”
U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse comprises 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.