The US Navy’s Commander Task Force (CTF) 52 has successfully completed a 14-day US/UK Mine Countermeasure Exercise (MCMEX) in the Central Arabian Gulf.
The MCMEX is designed to improve interoperability and evolve the expeditionary mine countermeasures company concept of employment from an afloat forward staging base and afloat platforms of opportunity.
It also enabled CTF 52’s MCM assets to practise mine detection and neutralisation missions.
USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15), an afloat forward support base (AFSB), and USNS Catawba (T ATF-168) two Avenger-class, USS Gladiator (MCM 11), USS Devastator (MCM 6), one Royal Navy Hunt Class, HMS Chiddingfold (M 37), and two Royal Navy Sandown Class, HMS Penzance (M 106), and HMS Bangor (M 109) participated in the exercise.
The exercise saw a combination of surface mine countermeasure vessels (SMCMV), explosive ordnance disposal mine countermeasure (EXMCM) personnel, airborne mine countermeasure (AMCM) systems, and unmanned vehicles working in coordination.
The units conducted mine clearance on multiple ports in order to ensure safe passage for civilian vessels in the exercise scenario.
Commander Task Force 52 captain Eric Wirstrom said: "The partnership we have with British MCM forces is vital to achieving the national objectives of both countries in the region.
"Our forces already work very closely, and exercises like this allow units to practise and improve the way in which we operate together to assure the free flow of commerce in the region."
Image: An emergency action procedure drill during a US-UK Mine Countermeasures Exercise (MCMEX). Photo: courtesy of U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Huggett/Released.