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U.S. and Royal Saudi air forces collaborate to counter UAS threat

A U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules taxis upon arrival at a forward location for a “hot pit” aircraft-to-aircraft refueling of two U.S Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

A U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules taxis upon arrival at a forward location for a “hot pit” aircraft-to-aircraft refueling of two U.S Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Rebecca Sumpter, 157th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron weapons load crew, walks away from a U.S Air Force Fighting Falcon F-16 after attaching the fuel hose to refuel the aircraft during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Rebecca Sumpter, 157th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron weapons load crew, walks away from a U.S Air Force Fighting Falcon F-16 after attaching the fuel hose to refuel the aircraft during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Loren Boring, 378th Expeditionary Wing command chief executive assistant, watches as the 157th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron performs a “hot pit” refueling of a U.S. Air Force Fighting Falcon F-16 during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Loren Boring, 378th Expeditionary Wing command chief executive assistant, watches as the 157th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron performs a “hot pit” refueling of a U.S. Air Force Fighting Falcon F-16 during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Rebecca Sumpter, 157th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron weapons load crew, attaches the fuel hose to a U.S. Air Force Fighting Falcon F-16 during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Rebecca Sumpter, 157th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron weapons load crew, attaches the fuel hose to a U.S. Air Force Fighting Falcon F-16 during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

A U.S. Marine with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, attaches a fuel hose to “hot pit” refuel a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

A U.S. Marine with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, attaches a fuel hose to “hot pit” refuel a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

A U.S. Marine with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, prepares to conduct a “hot pit” aircraft-to-aircraft refueling of a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

A U.S. Marine with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, prepares to conduct a “hot pit” aircraft-to-aircraft refueling of a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon arrives for a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon arrives for a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, connect a fuel hose for a “hot pit” aircraft-to-aircraft refueling during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, connect a fuel hose for a “hot pit” aircraft-to-aircraft refueling during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

A U.S. Marine with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, connects a fuel hose to a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

A U.S. Marine with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, connects a fuel hose to a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules during a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft at a forward location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off during a partner nation integration mission with the Royal Saudi Air Force at Prince Sultan Air base, June 17, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pavao)
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A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off during a partner nation integration mission with the Royal Saudi Air Force at Prince Sultan Air base, June 17, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pavao)

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi in preparation for take-off during a partner nation integration mission with the Royal Saudi Air Force with the Royal Saudi Air Force at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 17, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pavao)
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U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi in preparation for take-off during a partner nation integration mission with the Royal Saudi Air Force with the Royal Saudi Air Force at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 17, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pavao)

Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi on a runway at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while preparing to take part in a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sgt. Veronica Woodward)
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Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi on a runway at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while preparing to take part in a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sgt. Veronica Woodward)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off from a flightline at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to take part in a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sgt. Veronica Woodward)
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A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off from a flightline at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to take part in a counter unmanned aerial system integration mission with joint and Royal Saudi aircraft, June 30, 2021. U.S. Air Forces Central aircraft regularly work with coalition and partner nations to test their collective counter-UAS capabilities to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sgt. Veronica Woodward)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --

With the rise of unmanned aerial system attacks against U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East, the defense against UAS platforms has become a top priority within the U.S. Central Command theater of operations.

In response, U.S. Air Forces Central and partner nations have begun a series of integration missions that will continue through the summer of 2021.

On June 17 and 30, U.S. and Royal Saudi aircraft took to the skies to conduct a pair of operations testing their ability to collaboratively track and destroy a simulated invading UAS within regional airspace.

“The emerging UAS threat in the Middle East requires a wide spectrum of shared resources between the U.S. and our partners,” said Col. Matt Dietz, U.S. AFCENT Director of Operations. “We’re very fortunate that our Saudi Arabian allies have the same understanding and are willing to work so closely with us to combat the threat.”

U.S. AFCENT continuously works with partner nations to ensure the security and stability of regional airspace.