Exercise Saharan Express
Host Location: North Africa Littorals (Atlantic)
Summary: Exercise Phoenix Express, led by US Naval Forces Africa (NAVFORAF), is an at-sea maritime exercise focused on littoral areas in the Atlantic off North Africa, designed to develop participant nations’ capabilities to monitor and enforce their own territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. An annual exercise which began in 2011, Saharan Express was part of the larger Express Series exercises, designed to test skills obtained from participating in bilateral and Africa Partnership Station (APS) initiatives, specifically with the APS West initiative. The exercise involved European and North Africa nations, with participants not necessarily remaining the same from year to year. Participants have included, but are necessarily limited to Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, France, the Gambia, Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, Sierre Leone, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Annual Saharan Express engagements could occur in various locations in the Atlantic Ocean, sometimes concurrently. Exercises were coordinated with shore-based operations centers as well and could also include ashore events such as conferences. Saharan Express had a focus on potential combined peacekeeping or humanitarian operations and countering illicit trafficking in drugs, people, or weapons in the Atlantic Ocean.
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