The UK Royal Navy’s (RN) River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) HMS Tamar has carried out a series of mine-hunting operations during Mine Warfare Exercise (MiWEx).
The latest iteration of MiWEx is held in the waters off the coast of South Korea.
Britain is one of the 12 nations to take part in this exercise. Other countries include the US, South Korea, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Belgium, Italy, Columbia, Turkey Japan, Singapore.
The exercise allowed participating navies to work together to counter a realistic mine threat, while exchanging several mine warfare techniques.
The tests conducted under this exercise aimed to support RN’s plan to discontinue the deployment of separate mine hunting vessels.
The Navy is rather focusing on promoting the use of specialist teams with mine hunting equipment, including a crewless boat, that can be operated/launched from an OPV, such as HMS Tamar.
The equipment can also be used with Inspiration-class or Type 31 frigates and Type 26 City-class vessels.
According to the RN, this process is referred as ‘modularisation’ or ‘crane-on/crane-off capability’ and all the five River-class OPVs are equipped with such a crane.
During the exercise, Tamar hosted a Guam-based US Navy’s mobile diving/explosive ordnance disposal team to test different associated concepts.
The team launched Remus 100 uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUV) from HMS Tamar’s sea boat to gather data from a depth of 100m for analysis.
HMS Tamar commanding officer commander Teilo Elliot-Smith said: “Recognising that Tamar can bring real capability options to the table is an important part of our purpose in being permanently deployed here.
“The US detachment was impressive and the ship’s company were great in ensuring that working together we became greater than sum of our parts.”