- Three crucial choke points at the Bab al-Mandab Strait, Suez Canal, and the Suez Canal.
- The transfer to CENTCOM is thought to streamline coordination with American forces in the area and open the door to a regional alliance
The Israel Navy is taking part in a joint exercise with American counterparts from the US 5th Fleet as worry over Iran’s naval activity in the Red Sea grows.
The four-day exercise was focused on mission planning, maritime interdiction, and other things, according to the US Navy, despite the fact that little specifics were made public.
The USNS Matthew Perry, a dry cargo ship of the Clark class, the USS Lewis B. Puller, an expeditionary sea base that supports a wide range of missions, including counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and crisis response operations, are among the ships participating. The USS Nitze, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer with a crew of 360, is also one of the participating ships. They will travel close to Israel’s Sa’ar 4 missile ships, INS Eilat and INS Keshet.
The exercise was conducted soon after Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued a warning that Iran has been increasing its maritime activity. He asserted that Iran has increased its military presence in the Red Sea to its highest level in a decade and that Iran, which is “methodically” establishing bases there, “is a direct threat to trade, energy, and the world economy.”
Iran has been attempting to modernise its navy, introducing new ships and submarines to support the nation’s ageing fleet. International maritime ships, notably oil tankers, have frequently been targeted by the Islamic Republic and attacked.
The 2.5 million square mile operational area of the US 5th Fleet includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, a portion of the Indian Ocean, and three crucial choke points at the Bab al-Mandab Strait, Suez Canal, and the Suez Canal.
Israel has participated in numerous drills with the US Air Force Central Command (AFCENT) and US Naval Forces Central Command since the US moved from US European Command (EUCOM) to US Central Command (CENTCOM) (NAVCENT).
Since the relocation, Israeli troops have participated in numerous drills with CENTCOM, AFCENT, and NAVCENT, including one in the Red Sea in November alongside Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
The transfer to CENTCOM is thought to streamline coordination with American forces in the area and open the door to a regional alliance with Arab nations that have mended relations with Israel against common Iranian threats.
The Navy participated in the biannual Other Maritime Exercise (IMX) in February, which was organised by the NAVCENT and included up to 50 ships and more than 9,000 personnel from more than 60 militaries and international organisations.