RFA Cardigan Bay hosts US, Royal Navy sailors for mine countermeasure drill

Members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, crane an 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boat into the ocean off of RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009) during Mine Identification and Exploitation Exercise (MIE-EX) 2017. Photo: US Navy

Mine countermeasure experts form the UK and US navies embarked the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Cardigan Bay to complete the Mine Identification and Exploitation Exercise 2017 .

The exercise allowed for US and UK forces to share knowledge of mine countermeasures (MCM) capabilities in searching, identifying and neutralizing mines that could threaten the freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce.

“This exercise provides a unique opportunity for both navies to exchange knowledge and expertise on expeditionary mine countermeasures capabilities,” said Lt. Travis Miller, officer in charge of post mission analysis for Task Group 56.1. “Militaries must work together when a crisis emerges, it is important for partner nations to build strong relationships.”

As sea mines can pose a risk to any waterborne vessel, exercises such as MIE-EX allow naval forces to prepare for possible threats in the maritime.

“Mines can indiscriminately threaten maritime traffic, which would hamper the free flow of commerce and the freedom of navigation in the region,” said Miller. “This exercise allowed us to conduct realistic training with partners that we would work with if we had to counter this threat in the future.”

The exercise was one of many bilateral MCM exchanges with the Royal Navy in the US 5th Fleet area of operations focused on enhancing an integrated US-UK MCM team.

U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.

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