Two Royal Navy minehunters HMS Chiddingfold and Penzance have participated in an eight-day Anglo-American mine hunting exercise.   

They were joined by the UK’s minehunting mother/command ship RFA Cardigan Bay and US forces.  

It took place in the Gulf waters off Bahrain, which was filled with dummy mines and contacts for the testing workout.

The minehunters were joined by USS Dextrous, American explosive ordnance disposal technicians, and HM-53E Sea Dragon helicopters. 

As part of the exercise, realistic mine hunting simulations were conducted to help the mine warfare teams practice detection and classification of training aids shaped like mines.

The vessels used sonar and the Seafox remote-controlled submersible and then neutralised the devices.

The US Navy also deployed the Mark VI Patrol Boats, while the Royal Navy used a 30mm cannon, Miniguns and SA80s.

Commander Richard Talbot said:This exercise has been hugely important to choreograph and employ air, surface and underwater mine countermeasure capabilities required to defeat a potential threat.  

“It’s given our sailors and airmen and women a chance to work alongside one another, share knowledge and build on the already strong relationships we have.” 

“With almost 30 years working in the navy’s mine clearance specialism, it is good to be sharing my experience with our US partners within Task Force 52,” 

The Royal Navy began minehunting and survey operations using unmanned surface vessels (USVs) in March this year.  

In a separate development, a new crew has assumed control of HMS Montrose, the pilot ship for the Forward Presence programme of the Royal Navy.