Omani-British Joint Training Area
Part of Ras Madrakah Training Area
Duqm in Oman
TypeTraining area
Area4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi)[1]
Site information
Owner Oman
 United Kingdom
Operator Royal Army of Oman
 British Army
Site history
In use2019 - present

The Omani-British Joint Training Area is a training area established in 2019 for joint military training between Oman and the United Kingdom.[2]

Background

Options for a permanent training area were first discussed at ministerial level in 2015.[3] On 21 February 2019, a Joint Defence Agreement (JDA) signed between Oman and the United Kingdom mandated the creation of a joint training area to facilitate military training between the British and Omani militaries.[2] The two countries had shared close cultural, economic and military ties since the 1970 Omani coup d'état which saw Qaboos bin Said installed as the Sultan of Oman with significant British support. The JDA was considered by some foreign policy analysts to be an attempt by the then-terminally ill Sultan to make institutional arrangements which will outlast his reign and ensure close relations with the UK continue under his successor.[1] The agreement was also the result of intensifying British engagement in the wider region as the country sought to consolidate its global influence after leaving the European Union.[4] The two countries have previously engaged in large-scale military exercises — the largest being Exercise Saif Sareea, which was held in 1986, 2001 and 2018.[1]

History

The training area opened sometime during 2019.[5] Prior to opening, an exercise, named Exercise Khanjer Oman 19, was held to test its viability in March 2019.[6] The exercise involved the British Army's Royal Tank Regiment, 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade and supporting units, such as No. 659 Squadron AAC and was concluded a success.[6][7]

Located within the 4,000-square-kilometre (1,500 sq mi)[1] Ras Madrakah training area near the Omani port town of Duqm, the Omani-British Joint Training Area is the largest training area used by the British Army — larger than both the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Canada and the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) in the United Kingdom.[6][8] It enables a permanent British Army presence within the region, working closely with the UK Joint Logistics Support Base (UKJLSB) in the nearby Al Duqm Port & Drydock.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Campbell-James, Jonathan (18 September 2020). "Britain in Oman: Washington's Strategic Partner". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b "UK and Oman sign historic Joint Defence Agreement". GOV.UK. 21 February 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Defence Secretary visits Oman". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  4. ^ "New Duqm Base and Joint Training Area Form Key Aspects of Agreement". WarfareToday. 26 February 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  5. ^ "THE NEW EXTERNAL SECURITY POLITICS OF THE HORN OF AFRICA REGION" (PDF). SIPRI. Retrieved 21 September 2020. A new Omani– British Joint Training Area is due to open during 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Oman provides challenging environment for British Army exercise". British Army. 12 March 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Exercise KHANJAR OMAN 19". The Gurkha Brigade Association. 14 August 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Challenger 2 MBT and Wildcat prove desert capability on Ex Khanjar Oman". British Army. 26 March 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2020.