US, UK conduct SQUADEX-16
The British Royal Navy and US Navy have conducted the quarterly SQUADEX-16 mine countermeasures (MCM) exercise in the Arabian Gulf, the US Navy announced on 8 August.
US vessels participating in the exercise included mine countermeasures ships USS Gladiator (MCM 11) and USS Sentry (MCM 3); while from the British fleet landing ship dock RFA Lyme Bay (L3007) and Sandown-class minehunters HMS Bangor (M109) and HMS Penzance (M106) took part.
The exercise saw MCM vessels set mine shapes in areas to test the efficiency of US and UK assets in mine detection. Five different sonar from the surface platforms were used, along with drivers and aircraft. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and explosive ordnance disposal divers were used to assist in clearing areas.
The exercise allowed the contribution that the operator, environment and equipment have on MCM operational capabilities to be identified.
Exercises were carried out in challenging environmental conditions including high sea temperatures and variable depths.
Cmdr David Morgan, commander of UK MCM Force, said: ‘SQUADEX is a quarterly exercise that provides an opportunity for UK and US assets to further develop and test their minehunting capabilities.
‘A robust mine countermeasures capability in the [Arabian] Gulf is vital to ensuring that sea lanes remain open and free, to safeguard freedom of navigation and legitimate trade.’
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