Saudi and Sudan naval forces participate in Al-Fulk 4 joint exercises

According to information published by Saudi Gazette on March 19, 2021, the naval forces of Saudi Arabia and Sudan have launched the joint Al-Fulk 4 drills at the Saudi King Faisal Naval Base in the port city of Jeddah on the Red Sea.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Saudi, Sudanese Naval Forces Complete New Drill Preparations (Picture source: Asharq al Awsat)

"The goal of the joint military exercises of the Saudi Arabian and Sudanese navies is to exchange experience and increase combat readiness with the participation of the marines, private maritime security units, naval aviation groups, ships and patrol boats from the kingdom's Western Fleet, as well as develop the process of command and control over the course of the military operations to ensure free shipping and maritime security in the Red Sea," a senior Saudi military said at the opening ceremony.

The exercise is attended by marines, Special Navy Security Units, and an elite group of navy drill instructors.

It is noteworthy that the Royal Saudi Naval Forces and its Sudanese counterpart started the first joint exercise "Al-Fulk 1" in 2013 at Port Sudan located in the eastern part of the North African country.

The Royal Saudi Navy is the maritime arm of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces. Its primary role is monitoring and defending the Saudi territorial waters against military or economic intrusion, and participating in international naval alliances.

The Saudi Navy is made up of 3 Sandown-class minehunters (built Vosper Thornycroft, Woolston) and HMS Al-Shaqra is one of them.

The HMS Al-Shaqra (422) is a Sandown-class minehunter in service with the Royal Saudi Navy. Three Sandown minehunters were built by British shipbuilding Vosper Thorneycroft firm for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces under the Al Yamamah program, commissioning in 1991-97. The Sandown Class is equipped with two underwater PAP 104 mk5 remote-controlled mine-disposal vehicles, supplied by Societe ECA. The vehicle is controlled via a 2,000m fibre-optic cable. A lighting system, low light level black and white camera and a color camera are fitted. The vehicle is also fitted with a high-resolution sonar. The sensor data is transmitted back to the operations control centre on the ship.

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