UAE, U.S. aviators train at National Training Center

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UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Joint Aviation Command, United Arab Emirates, await flight crews on a tarmac within the National Training Center prior to the start of an air assault mission during Decisive Action Rotation 17-09, Sept. 21, 2017. (Army photograph by Sgt. David Devich)

Interoperability is a term consistently utilized to highlight the abilities of mutually supporting entities to operate together.

Exemplifying that term during National Training Center rotation 17-09 has been the partnership between the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

A significant contingent of the Joint Aviation Command, UAE, came to NTC for rotation 17-09, Sept. 9-22, to conduct combined training with their U.S. counterparts and continue to build upon an already solid foundation. The UAE JAC partnered with Task Force Saber led by 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, to conduct a myriad of missions that enhanced the overall training experience of both organizations.

Lt. Col. Hamad Al Ahbabi, commander, Combat Aviation Group, Joint Aviation Command, UAE, stated, “We have made partnerships with our counterparts and they will last far beyond this exercise.”

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the Joint Aviation Command, United Arab Emirates, conducts a live-fire assault on an objective during an air assault mission at the National Training Center during Decisive Action Rotation 17-09. (Army photograph by Sgt. David Devich)

The 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord welcomed the added combat power that the UAE brought to the table. A rotation at NTC is already extremely challenging, so adding a combat multiplier to the mix definitely improved the capabilities for the rotational training unit.

“The training here at NTC along with JRTC are second to none,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen Toumajan, commanding general, Joint Aviation Command, UAE. “The UAE and U.S. are in combat, we have been for many years, and the training here at NTC continues to hone our mutual capabilities.”

Challenging training has long been the hallmark of a rotation at the NTC. And that reputation has reached countless partner nations, including the UAE. The UAE aviation element played key roles in multiple missions to include reconnaissance, security, and air assault operations in support of the Lancer Brigade.

“The realism and fast paced tempo provides a world class training experience that prepares Soldiers for combat and interoperability,” said Al Ahbabi.

Aviators from the Joint Aviation Command, United Arab Emirates, conduct functions checks aboard their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter prior to the start of an air assault mission during Decisive Action Rotation 17-09 at the National Training Center. (Army photograph by Sgt. David Devich)

Supporting the Lancer Brigade led to extensive partnerships at multiple echelons from the Task Force planning cell to brigade operations, in addition to the leaders that must make tough decisions with minimal time. Contingents from the UAE have already visited multiple U.S. Army centers for excellence to further enhance their abilities to integrate with Army TTP’s, operations, and systems.

“We shared a planning cell so we’ve gotten to work very closely with regards to air assault planning and movement,” said 1st Lt. Hollis Young, executive officer, Bravo Co., 2nd Sqdn, 25th CAB. “They have been an amazing partner to work with.”

The ability to build upon already strong partner nation capabilities, while completing an NTC rotation is no easy task. The stresses placed upon the training unit are extraordinary so that when the time comes in actual combat, the muscle memory is ingrained into each unit, making the reactions come quicker and with precise accomplishment.

The success that the UAE JAC and the 25th CAB have enjoyed will translate into further favorable operations in the future when they incorporate their lessons learned from this experience into their follow-on operations and pass their knowledge on to the units they serve with on those missions. Increasing interoperability between the U.S. and the UAE will allow both countries to appreciate greater impacts in their areas of operations.

“Our partnership is an example for others to follow,” Al Ahbabi concluded.
 

Aviators and crew chiefs from the United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command, gather for a group photo in front of their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at the conclusion of an air assault mission at the National Training Center. (Army photograph by Sgt. David Devich)

 
A flight crew chief from the Joint Aviation Command, United Arab Emirates, inspects the M134 GAU-17 Vulcan cannon aboard his UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter prior to the start of an air assault mission during Decisive Action Rotation 17-09 at the National Training Center, Sept. 21, 2017. (Army photograph by Sgt. David Devich)