Multinational mine countermeasures (MCM) exercise Artemis Trident conducted by the US 5th Fleet has been completed in the Arabian Gulf.
France’s Marine Nationale, the British Royal Navy and the US Navy took part in the MCM drill off the coast of Bahrain.
As part of the defensive exercise, the coalition forces participated in a scenario that was designed to provide safe passage to humanitarian relief vessels through a mined area.
US Navy Task Force 52 commodore captain Jeffrey Morganthaler said: “Mines threaten maritime traffic indiscriminately. Training together ensures we can collectively protect unfettered operations of naval and support vessels, as well as commercial shipping movements, throughout the maritime domain.”
The forces used multiple, integrated sensors to clear 70nm of channels and routes for simulated shipping.
The training scenario saw geographically dispersed forces practising choke point clearance and harbour breakout.
More than 700 personnel, ten ships, and five helicopters from the three nations participated in the exercise.
The US Navy was represented by the US Navy expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B Puller (ESB 3), fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Sentry (MCM 3), Island-class coastal patrol boats USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) and USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332).
The UK deployed RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009) and minehunters HMS Shoreham (M112) and HMS Ledbury (M30), while France sent minehunters FS L’Aigle (M647) and FS Sagittaire (M650).
During Artemis Trident, FS L’Aigle and HMS Ledbury simultaneously rafted with the RFA Cardigan Bay.
Deployment of RFA Cardigan Bay helped enhance the endurance of the mine hunters.
It showcased the ability of a multinational force to perform both sustainment and repairs during extended mine clearance operations.
Another scenario in the exercise involved six of the ships taking part in collective self-defence to defend themselves from simulated air and surface threats.
Marine Nationale mine clearance diving officer lieutenant Pierre said: “The exercise has been a highlight in our current deployment, and it exemplifies how we are stronger together, in an area that is so complex.
“France deploys MCM vessels on a regular basis to the Arabian Gulf, to maintain expertise of the local environment, and I am looking forward to the next exercise.”
US 5th Fleet area of operations includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.