USA, Saudia Arabia “planning exclusive C-UAS exercise to tackle Iranian drone threat”

Al Monitor reports that the USA and Saudi Arabia are planning to start in mid-March the first “Red Sands” US/Saudi air defence exercise, to be held in Saudi Arabia.

According to the news source:

“The defensive exercise series — the brainchild of the Central Command (CENTCOM) commander Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla — is the most significant step in the Pentagon’s belated efforts to adapt to Iran’s rapid advances in drone warfare in recent years. More than three years after guided Iranian missiles and drones slammed into Saudi Aramco oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurays, US defense officials openly acknowledge that reliance on conventional shows of force has failed to deter Iran’s attacks.

“The Pentagon’s withdrawals of air defense systems from the Middle East in recent years amid tensions with Russia and China and a backlog of requests by regional governments to purchase similar US-made systems has led new leadership at US CENTCOM to pursue some inventive solutions.

“Saudi Arabia was selected to host Red Sands in part because of the country’s vast expanses of open desert away from population centers, where the US and regional militaries can experiment with directed energy weapons for air defense purposes, one US military official told Al-Monitor.

“Directed energy will not be fielded this month, but US Army officials will introduce to their Saudi counterparts to a new computer simulator developed last year by a Massachusetts National Guard soldier Sgt Mickey Reeve.”

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(Image: U.S. Army air defenders with Alpha Battery, 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, reloads ammo during a M-SHORAD live fire exercise (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Yesenia Cadavid)

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