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News | July 27, 2023

Multinational Task Force Completes Exercise in P-8 Flight over Arabian Gulf

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

A multinational naval coalition that monitors and patrols key waterways in the Middle East completed a naval exercise over the Arabian Gulf, July 26, with representatives from Bahrain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The 11-nation coalition, International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), conducted exercise Sentinel Shield aboard a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft that patrolled waters near the Strait of Hormuz. The aircraft practiced airborne reconnaissance and surveillance while participants demonstrated interoperability.

Sentinel Shield is a recurring exercise series led by IMSC’s operational arm, Coalition Task Force Sentinel, to enhance communication and coordination between partner naval forces.

“I am pleased by the outcome of this month’s exercise,” said United Kingdom Royal Navy Commodore Peter Laughton, commander for IMSC and the task force. “We are strongest when we leverage our regional partnerships. Operating as a coalition highlights our collective commitment to maintaining regional maritime security.”

The exercise supports multinational efforts led by the United States to increase the rotation of forces patrolling in and near the Strait of Hormuz with partners following a spate of merchant vessel seizures by Iran three months ago.

“We are working across the coalition to proudly deliver our mission of deterrence and reassurance,” said Laughton. “Collaboration among IMSC nations through Sentinel Shield exercises remains more essential than ever.”

IMSC was formed in July 2019 in response to increased threats to merchant mariners transiting international waters in the Middle East. The coalition’s operational task force was established four months later to deter state-sponsored malign activity and reassure the merchant shipping industry in the Bab al-Mandeb and Strait of Hormuz.

The coalition’s partner-nations include Albania, Bahrain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.