May 26 (UPI) -- U.S. and Saudi forces are conducting joint training exercises on and around the Karan and Kurayn islands in Saudi Arabia this week, according to the Pentagon.
The training, which began Sunday and is slated to last through Saturday, follows a similar, shorter training conducted at the end of April, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command announced on Monday.
According to the DoD, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Task Force 52 and 56, along with with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, are conducting well deck operations, underwater beach surveys, maritime patrolling and boat lane security operations during the exercise.
The U.S. and Saudi units are also planning to establish a forward arming and refueling point for aircraft to refuel -- expanding the aviation combat radius and enabling follow-on operations in the region.
"We appreciate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia allowing the BATARG and 26th MEU another training opportunity on these islands," Col. Trevor Hall, commanding officer of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said in a statement.
"Being able to train on these islands allows our team to expand upon our previous training by adding capabilities and assets from our partners in the region," Hall said. "The ability to plan and operate with other forces supports our ability to rapidly deploy aviation, maritime, and ground combat elements -- all from over the horizon -- at a moment's notice in order to support maritime security, freedom of navigation, and the free flow of commerce."