US and Japanese forces conduct final phase of MCMEX 3JA mine countermeasures exercise


The US Navy’s Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 7 members and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) MCM units have jointly conducted the final phases of the bilateral mine countermeasures exercise, (MCMEX) 3JA.

MCMEX 3JA is part of an annual series of bilateral exercises carried out between the US and Japan to enhance proficiency and interoperability in mine countermeasure operations.

During the exercise, JMSDF forces and the US Navy's Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 conducted limpet mine neutralisation, improvised explosive device (IED) tactics training, and helicopter casting aboard the minesweeper tender JS Uraga (MST-463).

"With each joint exercise, we enhance our ability to support each other and operate together as a unified force."

The US and Japanese forces also practised unit-level mine countermeasures tactics to include sweeping, hunting and mine detection.

The culminating phase of the exercise saw the forces coordinate and communicate to clear a route for ships through a simulated minefield in one of the designated exercise areas.

MCMRON 7 commodore captain James Miller said: "With each joint exercise, we enhance our ability to support each other and operate together as a unified force that is prepared when and where we are needed.

"We are grateful for every opportunity to operate with the JMSDF and strengthen our combined mine countermeasure capabilities."

The exercise also saw the participation of the US Navy’s Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship, USS Chief, a US minesweeper and mine warfare staff for the first time.


Image: JMSDF minesweeper JDS Chichijima sails during 3JA. Photo: courtesy of US Navy Photo by Lt. Chris Mitchell/Released.