The navies of the US and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have started the annual bilateral training event, Exercise Clear Horizon 2015, in a bid to improve cooperation and enhance capabilities in mine countermeasure operations.
Being conducted in waters south of the Korean peninsula, the exercise involves around 330 US Navy personnel assigned to mine countermeasures squadrons, along with the ROK Navy forces.
In addition, the US Navy capabilities in the training event include MH-53E helicopters from helicopter mine countermeasures squadron (HM) 14, and teams from explosive ordnance disposal unit five.
During the five-day exercise, the naval forces will practice clearing routes for shipping and also conduct training surveys for clearing operational areas.
According to the US Navy, the mine clearing helicopters will also be used to rehearse mine countermeasure operations from the air.
Clear Horizon, which is one of 20 annual bilateral training exercises executed every year between both navies, is aimed at bolstering the coalition, and maintaining stability and peace around the Korean peninsula and across north-east Asia.
In October, the US Navy's Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) conducted a series of exercises with the ROK Navy to improve maritime interoperability, tactics, techniques, and procedures.
The exercise was part of the routine CSG operations performing in the waters around the South Korea to strengthen the US-ROK alliance, and enhance regional security.