In a reflection of the ever-closer defence ties between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the two countries are holding their third military exercise in eight months.
The Egyptian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 12 October that Defence Minister General Sedki Sobhi had attended a ceremony to see off soldiers who would participate in the Exercise ‘Siham al-Haq’ (Right Arrows).
The MoD released a video showing Gen Sobhi addressing more than 200 soldiers before they embarked on C-130 transport aircraft. The video said the exercise would “underscore the strategic partnership and co-operation between Egypt and the UAE”.
At least some of the soldiers were from Egypt’s elite Rapid Deployment Forces (RDF), a new formation established in March. Similar in concept to the UAE’s Presidential Guard, the RDF brings together various elite combat units, including armour, mechanised infantry, paratroopers, and helicopters.
Exercise ‘Khalifah 1’ was held in Egyptian waters in June to improve the effectiveness of the amphibious forces of both states, according to Egypt’s MENA news agency, and the joint naval and air exercise ‘Zayed 1’ was held in the UAE in March. Both Gen Sobhi and President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi attended the final stages of the latter exercise.
The MoD video contains footage of some of the training Egyptian and Emirati forces have carried out together, including boarding a ship, landing troops on a beach using rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), clearing beach obstacles, and parachuting out of a C-130. The naval exercise involved a Baynunah-class corvette and Abu Dhabi-class fast attack craft from the UAE and an Egyptian Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate.