Naval personnel from the US, UK, Oman and France have commenced the 22nd iteration of the annual multilateral mine countermeasures (MCM) exercise Khunjar Haad in the Gulf of Oman.
The Khunjar Haad exercise will see the participation of about 150 US sailors and will enable participating nations to share more knowledge and experiences with each other, as well as enhance tactical efficiencies and strengthen their partnerships.
Drills will involve evolutions such as gunnery exercises (GUNEXs) to maintain their readiness with on-board weapon systems, and air defence exercises (ADEXs) to help enhance skill in the air and missile defence.
The vertical on-deck rescue (VOD) exercises by helicopter will seek to improve proficiency and time improvement skills during rescue operations, maritime interdiction operations and diving operations aimed at increasing underwater efficiency.
Exercises relating to visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) operations will also be carried out to enhance and ensure vessel-boarding efficiency during operations relating to illegal weapons and drug confiscation.
Task Force (CTF) 52 commodore of commander captain Eric Wirstrom said: “Khunjar Haad is one of many exercises with the Royal Navy of Oman and other partner nations designed to test our sailors with unique challenges in mine countermeasures.
“The level of multinational integration demonstrated during this exercise is inspiring and is a testament to the hard work being done here. These exercises strengthen our solid relationships and bring us together towards the shared goal of free flow of commerce.”
The participating assets are US Navy’s Avenger-class MCM ship USS Dextrous (MCM 13) and patrol coastal vessels USS Squall (PC 7) and USS Monsoon (PC 4), and UK Royal Navy’s Sandown-class MCM vessel HMS Bangor (M109).
Daring-class air-defence destroyer HMS Daring (D32), Hunt-class MCM vessel and HMS Middleton (M34), and Lyme Bay are also involved in the programme.
Additional participation came from the Royal Navy of Oman's Khareef-class navy patrol vessel Al Batinah, Al Shamikh (Q40), and Al Bushra-class patrol craft Al Bushra,as well as the French Marine Nationale's anti-air frigate FS Forbin (D620) from the French Marine Nationale.
Image: Coastal patrol ship USS Monsoon (PC 4) and French Marine Nationale anti-air frigate FS Forbin (D620) sail side by side during Khunjar Haad exercise. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.