France’s Marine Nationale, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy and the US Navy completed the US 5th Fleet mine countermeasures exercise Artemis Trident 19 in the Arabian Gulf.
The scenario for the exercise was for coalition forces to provide safe passage to humanitarian relief vessels through a mined area.
“Mines threaten maritime traffic indiscriminately,” US Navy Capt. Jeffrey Morganthaler, Commodore of Task Force 52 and lead for the exercise, said in a release.
“Training together ensures we can collectively protect unfettered operations of naval and support vessels, as well as commercial shipping movements, throughout the maritime domain.”
In the fictional scenario, 70 nautical miles of channels and routes were cleared for simulated shipping using multiple, integrated sensors. Geographically dispersed forces practiced choke point clearance and harbor breakout according to the US Navy.
“The exercise involved over 700 personnel, 10 ships, and five helicopters from the three nations. The ships included the U.S. Navy expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Sentry (MCM 3), Island-class coastal patrol boats USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) and USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332); the United Kingdom’s RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009) and minehunters HMS Shoreham (M112) and HMS Ledbury (M30); and the French Marine Nationale’s minehunters FS L’Aigle (M647) and FS Sagittaire (M650).”
As part of the exercise, FS L’Aigle and HMS Ledbury simultaneously rafted with the RFA Cardigan Bay.
RFA Cardigan Bay’s support increased the endurance of the mine hunters, demonstrating how a multinational force could conduct sustainment and repairs during extended mine clearance operations.
In another scenario, six of the ships practiced collective self-defense, working together to defend themselves from simulated air and surface threats.
“The exercise has been a highlight in our current deployment, and it exemplifies how we are stronger together, in an area that is so complex,” said France’s Marine Nationale Lt. Pierre, mine clearance diving officer aboard FS L’Aigle.
“France deploys MCM vessels on a regular basis to the Arabian Gulf, to maintain expertise of the local environment, and I am looking forward to the next exercise.”