Royal Navy Ships Practise Minehunting Amid ‘Present’ Threat In Gulf

April 17: Sailors from the Royal Navy have been practising their minehunting capabilities along with their American and French counterparts off the coast of Bahrain.

Exercise Artemis Trident has been taking place a 30-minute helicopter journey away from Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf.

It has given personnel from the UK, United States and France an opportunity to learn techniques off one another and hone their minehunting capability.

RFA Cardigan Bay and minehunter HMS Ledbury, now based in Bahrain, were among the other Royal Navy ships involved in the exercise, as well as Sandown-class minehunter HMS Shoreham.

The Royal Navy brought a range of personnel and technology on the exercise.

Among the equipment used were unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), such as the Seafox and the REMUS 100 which can dive to a depth of 100 metres in search of mines.

“We are continuing to embrace emerging maritime technology,” explained Commander Steven White, UK mine warfare battle staff.

“So, not only do we dive against ordinance but we’ve got remotely controlled underwater vehicles that we can use so they can give us a picture of what’s underneath the water, they’ve got their own sonars, they’ve got their own cameras.

“We’re also embracing the unmanned systems so we’ve got unmanned surface vehicles that tow sonars. 

Another piece of equipment showcased was a rigid inflatable boat that can hunt mines while its operator sits inside the comfort of a control room.

“It’s manned at the beginning of the launch… to get it out on the water and get it in position,” said American Scott Robinson, speedboat operations supervisor.

“Then the crew will work of series of switches down here in order to covert in an unmanned system.” 

The French Navy also highlighted how they can use sonar pictures from UUVs to relay footage back to personnel on deck.

The reason behind the exercise’s location is no accident – the Strait of Hormuz is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Every day, 17 million barrels of oil pass through the strait. On the opposing coast is Iran, which has previously threatened to mine the waters during tensions over its nuclear programme.

Source: Forces Network / Simon Newton

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