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US, Saudi Arabia to conduct first counter-drone exercise without allies

As tensions heat up with Iran, the Pentagon hopes the Red Sands exercises will convince allies in the Middle East that Western counter-drone technology is still better than China's.
 US and Saudi tanks take part in the "Eager Lion" multinational military manuever, in the Al-Zarqa governorate, some 85km northeast of the Jordanian capital Amman, on September 14, 2022.  (Photo by KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The US and Saudi Arabia are planning to kick off their first-ever experimental counter-drone exercise in mid-March, Al-Monitor has learned.

The first “Red Sands” exercise will involve US and Saudi-owned air defense systems, but will likely not include other regional militaries, according to four US military officials briefed on the matter.

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