The Royal Navy and U.S. Navy participated in a mine countermeasures interoperability exercise in the Persian Gulf earlier this month.
According to a U.S. Navy news release, U.S. Navy mine countermeasures ships operated alongside mine countermeasures vessels from the Royal Navy in order to enhance interoperability, information sharing and shared tactics and procedures between the two navies.
“Participating U.S. ships included the mine countermeasures ships USS Dextrous (MCM 13) and USS Sentry (MCM 3). In addition, explosive ordinance disposal technicians, MK VI patrol boats and MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 52, CTF 53 and CTF 56 participated. Royal Navy participating ships included mine countermeasures vessels HMS Chiddingfold (M37), HMS Penzance (M106) and landing dock ship RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009).”
The exercise consisted of realistic mine hunting simulations where participating units practiced detecting and classifying training aids shaped like mines while following standardised mine hunting procedures.
In addition to simulating the hunting and detection of different types of mines, the combined force practiced defending itself from the threat of small boat attacks.
While both U.S. and Royal Navy forces integrate regularly, including Royal Navy officers filling important positions in the CTF 52 staff, this exercise reportedly demonstrated their ability to improve upon existing tactical proficiencies.
“The permanent UK and U.S. counter mine capability in these vital strategic chokepoints represents our joint commitment to maintaining maritime security in the region,” said Commodore Dean Bassett, UK Maritime Component Commander (UKMCC).
“The ability for the Royal Navy and U.S. Navy to conduct interoperability exercises together is essential to ensure that freedom of navigation is maintained.”