- ‘Saif Sareea 3’ in Oman later this year will involve around 4,500 UK military personnel
- The joint exercise will be the largest training activity in the region for 17 years
Major UK joint manoeuvres with Omani forces in the Middle Eastern country later this year will involve around 4,500 UK military personnel, Jane’s has learned.
The tri-service exercise, dubbed ‘Saif Sareea 3’ (‘Swift Sword 3’), will be the largest training activity in the region for 17 years and will see the first deployment of British Army Challenger 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) and Warrior infantry fighting vehicles to a Gulf country since UK troops withdrew from Basra in Iraq in 2009.
The UK and Omani governments jointly announced that the exercise would take place in the last quarter of 2018 last May.
The land component of the exercise will be based around an armoured infantry battlegroup provided by the 1st Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, and supported by a Challenger 2-equipped tank squadron from the Royal Tank Regiment, a British Army spokesman told Jane’s on 17 January.
A UK aviation task force including Puma HC2 and Chinook HC4/5/6 helicopters will support the exercise, but it has yet to be confirmed whether any Apache AH1 attack helicopters will also be deployed.
Opposing forces for the exercise are to be provided by a squadron of the Household Cavalry Regiment equipped with Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) armoured vehicles.
The British Army and the UK’s Joint Helicopter Command will provide between 2,250 and 2,500 personnel towards the 4,500 total of UK personnel participating in ‘Saif Sareea 3’, said the army spokesman.
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