Oman becomes a fulcrum for the UK’s global network of military centres

The British Army is increasing its presence in the Sultanate of Oman with the use of the Ras Madrakah training ground, located near strategic dry dock Duqm and the United Kingdom’s combined logistics base is increasing from around six weeks a year at present to more than eight months during the calendar year.

Further confirmation of the change in the length of the deployment to Ras Madrak came during a UK Defense Committee hearing on November 1, when Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace said the site would hold two separate training blocks a year, each lasting up to four months.

The move corresponds to Art 2021 Integrated Review’s the intention for UK defense assets, to increase engagement overseas through exercises and advanced deployments. The British Army’s contribution to this is through the concept of land-based strategic centers designed to ensure ongoing engagement with allies as well as providing essential training.

A British Army Air Corps Wildcat conducts a reconnaissance sortie at the Ras Madraq training range near Duqm in support of exercise Khanjar Amman 21. Credit: UK Ministry of Defense/Crown copyright

The deployment to the Land Regional Center (Amman) is expected to be split between two units training at the region’s Ras Madrakah Joint Training Range. It is not known what additional UK military personnel will be required to expand the use of the site, although the UK MoD’s Basing and Infrastructure Directorate is carrying out work as part of Project Khanjar to develop support structures within the Global Strategy Center (Oman). .

Project Khanjar, under the Global Strategic Hub (Oman), is a British Army-led project that will work with the Government of Oman to transform the Ras Madrak Joint Training Area into a regional center of excellence for military training.

Ras Madraka is currently used by the British Army for the training of both Light Mechanized Infantry and Light Cavalry groups, with Foxhound car deployed to provide easy mechanized preparation. ​​​​​​​While the location has seen maneuvers of heavy armored vehicles in the past, it is believed that there are no plans to host heavier forces such as Challenger 2 tanksnor the high beams of platforms such as M270B1/B2there soon.

By the end of 2022 and into 2023, light mechanized infantry battle groups and aviation will train alongside their Omani counterparts in Ras Madraka, using platforms such as the Foxhound and Jackal vehicles as well AW159 Wildcat helicopters.

Oman as a center

The Sultanate of Oman has long been a key location for Britain’s military presence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean region, and Meena Salman Naval Support Facility in Bahrain and at the Al-Udeid Coalition Air Base in Qatar.

The site will mainly house Foxhound vehicles used by light mechanized infantry battalions, as well as unarmored platforms operated by the British Army. Author: UK Ministry of Defence/Crown copyright

Strategically located in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman has access to deep-water ports and extensive ground training areas led to significant investment by the UK in building the infrastructure of the three services in the country.

The first four-month rotational deployment to Oman began in September with the Desert Khanjar 2022 exercise, involving around 1,000 personnel, including 800 from the British Army. The deployment is led by the UK’s 4th Light Brigade Combat Team, which is based around the Royal Regiment of Scotland’s 2nd Battalion Light Mechanized Battlegroup.

According to the British Army, the exercise is a step towards the upcoming Saif Sareea 4 exercise in 2028. Oman becomes a fulcrum for the UK’s global network of military centres

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