UK and UAE forces to take part in International Mine Countermeasures Exercise

14 March 2016 (Last Updated March 14th, 2016 18:30)

Sailors from the UK Royal Navy and the UAE Navy are to take part in the International Mine Countermeasures exercise in Abu Dhabi later this year.

Royal Navy

Sailors from the UK Royal Navy and the UAE Navy are to take part in the International Mine Countermeasures exercise in Abu Dhabi later this year.

The UK Royal Navy's Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel, HMS Middleton, and Sandown-class minehunter, HMS Bangor, joined forces with the UAE's German-built minehunters, the Al Hasbah and Al Murjan.

The minehunters have left their base in Bahrain for the 300 mile journey to Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi's main port, to participate in the exercise.

“We look forward to training with them again during the international mine exercise.”

Al Hasbah hosted British sailors in port, while the Al Murjan joined the two Royal Navy ships for a short combined exercise.

The three ships carried out various manoeuvres in formation before drill mines were laid and the hunt was on.

The ability of warships, divers, underwater vehicles and anti-mine helicopters, from both navies, to respond to the threat of underwater explosive devices will be evaluated at the event.

Upon suspecting mines with their sonar systems, British ships launched a small Seafox system that feeds live TV footage to the operations room, allowing officials to identify and decide how to dispose of the device if it turns out to be a bomb, torpedo or mine.

Bangor commanding officer lieutenant commander Tom Weaver said: "We look forward to training with them again during the international mine exercise, and in the meantime if we see them out on patrol, they might find us manoeuvring close enough for a cheery wave."


Image: HMS Middleton and HMS Bangor working as part of the forward deployed Mine Countermeasures force in the Gulf. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.