The Royal Saudi Naval Forces are participating in the International Maritime Exercise 2019 (IMX 19), which began on Sunday in Manama, Bahrain, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Hosted by the US Naval Forces Central Command (CENTCOM), the exercise extends from the Gulf of Aqaba to the northern Arabian Gulf.

According to the US Central Command, IMX19 serves to demonstrate the global resolve in maintaining regional security and stability, freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce from the Suez Canal south to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait through the Strait of Hormuz to the Northern Arabian Gulf.

The Saudi military attache in Bahrain, Brig. Gen. Fahad Al-Thunayan, said the exercise aims to enhance cooperation and strengthen relations between participating countries.

The Saudi Royal Naval Forces took part in the multinational mixed international naval drill IMX19, launched on Sunday from the Bahrain-based US Naval Forces Central Command, with the participation of 56 countries and seven international organizations.

The US Central Command said that the American-Saudi naval exercises aim at preserving the regional security and maritime navigation. It said that a Saudi F-15 fighter jet accompanied an American B-52 bomber in training sorties to protect regional security.

The common objective of the drill was to enhance cooperation and achieve common goals to strengthen the relations among the participating countries.

Commodore Abdullah bin Fuhaid Al-Shammari, assistant commander of IMX 19 and commander of the Royal Saudi naval force, said: “The Saudi navy’s participation in this international exercise reflects the devotion of the Royal Saudi Navy command to strengthening international relations and sustaining joint work with the rest of the world, including 56 countries and seven international organizations.”

He added that the exercise is being implemented under the supervision of the US Army War College in two phases, the first of which is theoretical and academic training. “Hypotheses that hinder navigation and free flow of world trade are developed and then analyzed to find alternative solutions,” he said.

The second phase, he added, includes sailing all combatant vessels participating in the exercise and conducting maneuvers related to various maritime security operations in order to deter and neutralize any threat to international maritime transport lines.