Khartoum- Sudanese and Saudi air forces announced successfully concluding “Blue Shield 1″ joint military drill. The 12-day military exercise took place at the Martyr General Captain Awadh Khalafallah air base in the Sudanese city of Marawe, some 300 km north of the capital Khartoum.
Sudanese airforce MiG-21 and Sukhoi superjets partook in “Blue Shield 1.” Saudi Arabia sent F-15 fighter jets and Eurofighter Typhoons.
Officials said the first ever joint Saudi-Sudanese air exercise was intended to boost the two air forces’ operational capacities and promote cooperation.
Participating troops amounted to 450 Sudanese soldiers and 250 Saudi army men.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir addressed participating soldiers after concluding the drill, labeling the effort as the first of its kind between the two armies.
Bashir said developing air defense capacities in Arab countries is a central deterrent against enemies who eye the states and have illicit agendas.
He said the joint Saudi-Sudanese air force drill that ended Sunday had boosted relations between the two countries.
“The air force drill showed that relations between Sudan and Saudi Arabia are progressing,” Bashir stated.
Bashir said the Sudanese military was playing a “key role” in improving Khartoum’s ties with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
“As Sudanese security is connected with that of countries across the region, we are building military and security cooperation with our neighboring countries,” added the president, who wore a military uniform for the ceremony.
Major General Pilot Staff Mohammed Saleh al-Otaibi, Commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force, and Ali bin Hasan Jaafar, Saudi ambassador to Sudan, a number of RSAF senior officers and a number of senior Sudanese figures attended the event.
Bashir awarded the Commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force with Al-Nilain Medal Class I and a number of Saudi officers Al-Jadarah (merit) medal in recognition of their participation and performance in the event.