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U.S. Navy Surface Forces and Army Helicopters Conduct Live Fire Exercise in North Arabian Gulf


U.S. Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters assigned to U.S. Army Central Command’s (USARCENT) Task Force Saber conducted a live-fire exercise with ships assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT) in the North Arabian Gulf April 16-19.


U.S. Navy Surface Forces and Army Helicopters Conduct Live Fire Exercise in North Arabian Gulf 925 001 Sailors of USS Sirocco placing inflatable target into water during a live-fire exercise (Picture source: U.S. Central Command)


The exercise, which is designed to enhance the capabilities of U.S. forces to respond to surface threats, was a continuation of joint operations between USNAVCENT surface ships and USARCENT aircraft.

The joint operations have been ongoing throughout March and April.

The ships involved in the event included Navy Expeditionary Landing Base ship USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3), coastal patrol ships USS Sirocco (PC 6), USS Whirlwind (PC 11), USS Firebolt (PC 10 ), USS Tempest (PC 2), Coast Guard patrol boats USCGC Adak (WPB 1333), USCGC Maui (WPB 1304), USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332), and guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60).

Lewis B. Puller acted as a staging platform, embarking Task Force Saber personnel and equipment, and launching the Apaches, while the smaller surface ships identified simulated targets for the attack helicopters to engage.

On the ships involved without organic aircraft control capabilities, a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) was embarked to communicate directly with the aircraft and provide targeting information.

This live-fire exercise follows similar integration operations between USNAVCENT ships and Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) AC-130W Stinger II gunships in March.