On 31st July and 1st August, ships from Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 successfully completed two Passing Exercises (PASSEXES) in the Arabian Gulf, together with associated Visit Board Search Seizure (VBSS) and Division Tactics (DIVTAC) exercises.
A PASSEX is practiced to allow warships the chance to test and prove their ability to communicate and co-operate to ensure operational effectiveness and interoperability. These exercises help build an understanding of each ship’s capabilities, techniques, and procedures to further enable the interoperability of military forces in the region.
In the first PASSEX on 31st July, the United States Ship (USS) Thunderbolt, United States Coast Guard (USCG) Aquidneck and Royal Saudi Naval Force (RSNF) ship Hitteen conducted a DIVTAC and a Photo Exercise (PHOTEX). The Commander of CTF-152, Colonel Adbelkader Almarahleh, Royal Jordanian Navy, commented on the excellent English that was used by the RSNF personnel during the exercise, as well as the impressive seamanship by all concerned.
On 1st August, USS Thunderbolt and USCG Aqidneck conducted a VBSS exercise with the Royal Bahrain Navy Ship (RBNS) Muhharraq, which involved nine Bahraini and three USCG VBSS members. This was the first boarding for all the Bahraini VBSS team members, so proved to be an excellent example of capability development among CMF partners.
CTF-152 is continually looking to increase interoperability among all its units, especially between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and non-GCC vessels. These successful exercises demonstrate the impressive progress being made in this regard.
Established in 2004, CTF-152 area of operations is one of the most globally significant and geographically constrained regions. The Arabian Gulf contains over 1,000 oil and energy installations and other critical pieces of infrastructure, such as desalination plants and port facilities. The Bahrain-based CTF-152 staff is drawn mainly from GCC nations, supported by CMF personnel and assets. CTF-152 coordinates Maritime Security Operations in the Gulf, facilitating cooperation and interoperability between regional maritime forces.