Maldives-US commence joint military training exercise

Inauguration ceremony of fourth edition of ‘Black Merlin’, a joint military exercise between the Maldives and the US. (Photo/MNDF)

The fourth edition of ‘Black Merlin’, a joint military exercise participated by soldiers from United States (US) Montana National Guard and Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) commenced on Sunday.

The ceremony held at Bandaarakoshi on Sunday to inaugurate the exercise was graced by Chief of Defense Force Major General Ibrahim Hilmy as the chief guest. The ceremony was also attended by US Montana National Guard’s Adjutant General Major General John Hornek.

The joint exercise ‘Black Merlin’ will be held from today onwards to May 28th. As per MNDF, Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) related to intelligence, logistics, medical, EOD and infantry will take place during the exercise.

All SMEEs apart from infantry will be held in Male’, while in the infantry SMEE is scheduled to be held in Kadhdhoo.

A new activity, ‘Field Grade Exchange Program’, will be held in the course of the exercise as well. 

MNDF said the exercise will pave way to a better understanding of the responsibilities of staff officers, military planning process and training management.

The inauguration ceremony of the joint exercise was also attended by US Ambassador to the Maldives Hugo Yon, Vice Chief of Defense Force Brigadier General Ahmed Giyas and senior officials from MNDF.

The first edition of the ‘Black Merlin’ exercise was held in 2021 with the participation of 30 local military personnel.