Over the past two weeks, British troops have been polishing their desert warfighting abilities on a training field six times the size of Salisbury Plain (3-14 February). During their four-month deployment to Oman, they were participating in Operation Khanjar Oman, the first major training exercise.
In the joint training facility in Ras Madrakah, soldiers worked alongside the Royal Army of Oman as they prepared for a simulated assault on an adversary metropolitan area.
The exercise examined how well soldiers could prepare for and conduct operations in challenging terrain, including mountains, intricate wadi systems, and desert plains.
At the same time, it offered a chance to hone crucial soldiering abilities, such as soldiering in harsh settings, collaborating with ally forces, and discovering battle-winning strategies to defend the British public from future threats.
Battlegroup Commander Lt Col Ben Hawes 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, is preparing his troops to assume command of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in January 2024. He said:
Since March last year, the focus of our training has been to ensure that we are ready to fight against a peer enemy force. This exercise is the UK ensuring that its spearhead battlegroup is in exactly the right place to go out the door.
My troops have been absolutely put through their paces. Everything that our peer enemies could do to us, has been done to us.
I’ve operated with every single one of my radio frequencies jammed, I’ve operated with no GPS, I’ve operated at night for long periods of time; we’ve done training serial after training serial.
This is about our ability to operate and sustain an operation against an enemy that has the same, or maybe even greater capabilities than we do.
The 2nd Battalion of The Royal Anglian Regiment provided more than half of the soldiers who took part in the exercise.
The Royal Logistics Corps, Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, and Coastal Security Force all contributed in smaller numbers.
Exercise Desert Khanjar, which depicts the two yearly, four-month deployments of UK troops to the British Army’s Land Regional Hub at Duqm, Oman, is being led by the 4th Light Brigade Combat Team.
It is the British Army’s foremost annual training and defence engagement event to take place across the Gulf region, involving up to 1,000 British and 100 Omani soldiers.
During deployment, British personnel undertake unit training, exercise with partners and provide a forward-based force capable of building regional security capabilities and responding to threats where they arise.
Sources: THX News & UK Ministry of Defence.