PERSIAN GULF (NNS) -- U.S. and Saudi Arabian forces concluded exercise Nautical Union 2007 in the Persian Gulf June 2.
USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Hawes (FFG 53), USS Gladiator (MCM 11) and USS Ardent (MCM 12) trained with Saudi Arabian forces during the eight-day exercise, which focused on improving regional cooperation and efficiency in maintaining stability in the 5th Fleet area of operations.
"Nautical Union is a multidimensional warfare exercise involving Royal Saudi and United States Naval forces," said Higgins Commanding Officer Cmdr. Winton Smith. "Bilateral in nature, it is intended to enhance interoperability and tactical proficiency between coalition and regional forces, which may operate together to help set conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment. The exercise focused on the protection of oil infrastructure; visit, board, search and seizure operations; mine countermeasure operations; counter-terrorism operations and explosive ordnance disposal."
Smith stressed the importance of coalition and regional participation in maritime operations.
"Exercises such as Nautical Union are designed to enhance interoperability, which leads to successful maritime operations," said Smith. "Local countries and coalition partners have a vested interest in deterring international terrorists from using the sea as an avenue for terrorist activity, which poses a threat to local mariners and key infrastructure nodes."
Maritime operations help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts in regional nations' littoral waters. Coalition forces also conduct maritime operations under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that commercial shipping and fishing can occur safely in the region.
Smith is pleased with the outcome of the exercise.
"Overall, this was a terrific exercise that gave U.S. and Saudi Arabian forces an opportunity to refine tactics, techniques and procedures that may be used in future maritime operations," said Smith.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.