| 24 June 2024, Monday |

US, Saudi Arabia conclude region’s largest-ever counter-UAS exercise

According to the American colonel in charge of the training, the US and Saudi Arabia conducted the largest-ever counter-UAS exercise in the Middle East this week.

Col. Robert McVey, speaking from Riyadh, where the exercise was place, offered details on the second round of this sort of practice.
Red Sands 23.2 was the sequel to Red Sands 23.1, which took place in March.

Moving ahead, the US colonel stated that two comparable drills will be held each year. “Planning for Red Sands 24.1 has already begun,” said Col. McVey to Al Arabiya English.

Future Red Sands exercises will build on the accomplishments and information obtained by the US and Saudi Armed Forces during this most recent drill as they continue to collaborate to tackle problems.

The exercise was “much more sophisticated” than the first round and, this time, was held at the King Saud Air Base in northeastern Saudi Arabia.

This allowed for more extensive and advanced weapons and technologies, according to Col. McVey.

Around 300 members participated in total, 150 from each army.

McVey said that interoperability between the US and Saudi militaries was a key goal of these drills.

Iran has developed one of the world’s most sophisticated and lethal drone programs.

But Col. McVey did not mention any particular country as being the biggest threat.

“The UAS threat is real, and the Red Sands Integrated Experimentation Center represents a significant step, not only in defeating UAS threats but in demonstrating a shared commitment to regional security by both Saudi and US forces,” said Gen. Kurilla, the top US military general for the Middle East. He added: “This also highlights the value CENTCOM component innovation task forces provide to solving shared security concerns.”

A wide range of aircraft and US technology was used during Red Sands 23.2. including Mobile-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Defeat System (M-LIDS), an AH-64E Apache helicopter, the R400 Remote Weapon Station (RWS) with an XM914 30mm cannon, and the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System (LMADIS).

The US hopes to replicate similar joint exercises with other regional armies.

  • alarabiya