International Maritime Exercise (IMX) concludes in Bahrain
More than 20 nations took part in the International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 2017 which was held from May 2 to 18, on Naval Support Activity Bahrain.
In addition to personnel led by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, the command post exercise also included representatives from the civilian shipping industry group Oil Companies International Marine Forum.
This group of key players came together to promote interoperability, increase readiness in all facets of defensive maritime warfare, and demonstrate resolve in maintaining regional security and stability and protecting the free flow of commerce.
“This year’s IMX presented an invaluable opportunity to build upon the successes of [the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise] and act as a stepping stone looking forward to IMX 2019,” said Commodore William Warrender, deputy commander of combined maritime forces in U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, and international maritime exercise force commander. “This year was the largest exercise we’ve seen to date, and the 2019 iteration of the exercise is going to be an even greater opportunity to demonstrate coalition cohesiveness. It is only with continued support of our partners and allies that we can endure with our mission, delivering stability and reducing illicit activity within the region.”
IMX 2017 consisted of four days of academic training from various presenters, which included the U.S. Naval War College. The topics of the presentations ranged from naval planning to mission analysis, as well as discussing the coordination of forces to increase international cooperation.
“Having a significant number of international partners working alongside the civilian shipping industry builds a critical understanding to enhance security and cooperation in the region,” said Royal Canadian Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ralph Underhill, lead planner for IMX. “By training on as realistic of threat-scenarios that we could possibly make, we tried to ensure IMX trained against situations that are entirely possible in this region.”
Following the presentations, participants took part in field exercises simulating realistic scenarios that have occurred in or threaten the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. Situations included a simulated missile attack, mine threats, a mine strike on a naval vessel, and a fast attack craft threat.
The region encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water and includes the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. Twenty countries comprise this expanse, which includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen. The Strait of Hormuz sees nearly 20 percent of the world’s oil supply transits, and exercises like IMX are designed to share knowledge and enhance proficiencies in a joint environment.