US and Israel begin four-day naval exercise in Red Sea

Joint drill focused on mission planning, maritime interdiction and other skills

The drills follow the establishment of a new task force to patrol the Red Sea. Photo: US Navy
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US and Israeli naval forces held a joint drill in the Red Sea on Monday, the US Navy said in a press release.

The USS Nitze, the USS Lewis B Puller and the USNS Matthew Perry are involved in the exercise, the US Navy added.

A small destroyer with a crew of about 400, the USS Nitze is bristling with air-to-air missiles, cruise missiles for long-range land attacks and torpedoes.

USS Lewis B Puller is a military cargo ship capable of deploying marines and serving as a platform for troop-carrying aircraft such as the Osprey.

USNS Matthew Perry is a logistical support ship.

Israel is sending two vessels for the exercise — the INS Eilat, with a crew of about 70, armed with anti-ship missiles, air-to-air missiles and torpedoes, and the INS Keshet, which has a smaller crew but is designed as a missile boat and carries a larger armament.

“The exercise is a bilateral training event between US Fifth Fleet and Israeli naval forces that focuses on mission planning, maritime interdiction and other drills at sea,” the US Navy said.

The drills follow the establishment in April of a new task force focused on patrolling the Red Sea, countering mines and weapons-smuggling networks linked to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and ensuring the safe movement of commercial vessels in the area.

Updated: August 01, 2022, 6:31 PM
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