UK — Royal Navy mine countermeasures flotilla sails for exercise in the Gulf

Four Roy­al Navy mine coun­ter­mea­sures ves­sels (MCMVs) depart­ed Bahrain recent­ly for a ten-day exer­cise with their coun­ter­parts from the US Navy in the Gulf.

HMS Middleton
HMS Mid­dle­ton departs the port of Mina Salman in Man­a­ma, Bahrain, fol­lowed by HM Ships Pem­broke and Grims­by and two US Navy minesweep­ers
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The exer­cise is designed to enable the two navies to fur­ther devel­op mine hunt­ing tech­niques in the warm, shal­low waters of the Mid­dle East, which form a busy and impor­tant mar­itime environment. 

For the Roy­al Navy, it is also an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Com­man­der UK Mine Coun­ter­mea­sures Force to direct a bilat­er­al, mul­ti-ship mine coun­ter­mea­sures task force at sea. 

The British con­tin­gent con­sist­ed of two Hunt Class MCMVs, HMS Mid­dle­ton and HMS Chid­ding­fold, and two Sandown Class ves­sels, HMS Grims­by and HMS Pem­broke. The Roy­al Fleet Aux­il­iary land­ing ship RFA Lyme Bay has also joined the exer­cise as the afloat headquarters. 

The UK ships were joined by four ships from the US Navy’s Avenger Class — USS Ardent, USS Dex­trous, USS Glad­i­a­tor and USS Scout. 

Com­man­der David Bence, Com­man­der UK Mine Coun­ter­mea­sures Force, said: 

“Sea mines and unex­plod­ed ord­nance have the poten­tial to cause great dis­rup­tion to inter­na­tion­al ship­ping lanes, restrict­ing free­dom of the seas and dam­ag­ing world economies. 

“The Roy­al Navy is at the fore­front of mine coun­ter­mea­sure capa­bil­i­ties in expe­ri­ence, exper­tise and in tech­nol­o­gy. It is impor­tant that we main­tain these capa­bil­i­ties across a range of dif­fer­ent envi­ron­ments, from the cold Atlantic to the warmer coastal water­ways of the Mid­dle East. 

“This exer­cise was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to demon­strate our abil­i­ty to deploy an expe­di­tionary mine coun­ter­mea­sures task force and bat­tle staff in con­junc­tion with inter­na­tion­al partners.” 

The four British MCMVs are for­ward deployed to Bahrain for sev­er­al years at a time. They are main­tained local­ly and crew mem­bers are rotat­ed with coun­ter­parts in the Unit­ed King­dom on a reg­u­lar basis. 

They are among sev­er­al Roy­al Navy war­ships and aux­il­iaries oper­at­ing in the Mid­dle East region, under­tak­ing mar­itime secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions such as counter-pira­cy and counter-ter­ror­ism along­side part­ner nations from NATO, the Euro­pean Union Naval Force and the 24-nation Com­bined Mar­itime Force. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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