The Royal Navy say that UK minehunters continue to push tech boundaries with US in the Gulf.
According to a news release, the two navies hold regular joint exercises to ensure there’s no ‘skills fade’ in the delicate art of finding and neutralising mines – “especially as crews and ships regularly rotate through the region, so there’s a high degree of churn”.
For the latest ‘interop’” exercise, HMS Chiddingfold, Middleton and Penzance plus RFA Lyme Bay, their command ship and home to the RN’s Mine Warfare Battle Staff, joined American minehunter USS Gladiator and giant MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters – which drag minesweeping kit through the Gulf waters – for eight days of trials and test.
The RN vessels were joined by members of the US Navy’s Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures Company. That resulted in HMS Penzance becoming the first Sandown-class vessel to put a REMUS 600 vehicle through its paces.
“REMUS has been used by the Navy for several years – but traditionally it’s launched from smaller craft. The device, which looks like a torpedo, moves through the water at speeds of up to five knots, scanning the seabed with sonar on ‘patrols’ up to three days long. In doing so, it surveys a huge area and, crucially, ensures the ship itself doesn’t have to venture anywhere near the suspected minefield.”