The Royal Australian Navy has commenced Exercise Dugong 15, aimed to strengthen the navy’s skills in waterspace management and mine counter measures.

The exercise will see participation of personnel from Australia, Great Britain, the US, New Zealand and Canada and will also include observers from India and Sweden.

According to the Australian Navy, the exercise offers an opportunity to work closely with the country’s international partners.

The elements participating in this two-week exercise include the Huon class mine hunter, HMAS Yarra, personnel from the Mine Warfare Team Evaluation and Ranging Element.

In addition, the exercise involves Australian Clearance Diving Team Four and the Hobart-based Australian Naval Reserve Diving Team Ten, as well as the Defence Maritime Services vessel Seahorse Horizon.

Australian Mine Warfare Clearance Diving Task Group commander, commander Max Muller said: "First conducted in 1988, this is the fifteenth iteration of Exercise Dugong, which remains the Australian Defence Force’s premier international mine warfare and military diving activity.

"Exercise Dugong is an opportunity to conduct shaping operations in advance of the Amphibious Readiness Element."

"Exercise Dugong is an opportunity to conduct shaping operations in advance of the Amphibious Readiness Element, with a particular emphasis on executing contemporary mine warfare and military diving techniques in some challenging environmental conditions."

Scheduled to continue through to 16 October, the exercise is being held in Tasmania for the second time, while the last was conducted in Hobart in 2009.

Recently, Australia and India completed the first bilateral maritime exercise, Ausindex15, at Visakhapatnam in India.

Ausindex15 was aimed to strengthen the defence co-operation between the countries.

Image: Divers from the Royal Navy Fleet Diving Team 2 conduct tests on their diving gear in the shallow water off Hobart, Tasmania, during Exercise Dugong 2015. © Royal Australian Navy.