US, UK Forces Complete Large-Scale Mine Countermeasures Exercise

The US and the UK have completed a joint, large-scale military exercise in mine hunting and mine clearing operations in the Arabian Gulf.

Called Neptune’s Kilt, the drill involved more than 500 soldiers from the Royal Navy, the US Navy, and the US Air Force.

The UK deployed three of its mine countermeasures vessels to assist the American guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton in the exercise.

They were used to practice procedures for detecting, classifying, and clearing mines from vital waterways.

“We effectively conducted tactical communications, mine-clearing exercises, and formation sailing,” USS Paul Hamilton commander Jake Ferrari said.

Meanwhile, mine countermeasures squadrons from the US Air Force and Navy flew two MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters and four A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to assist in the drill.

Ensuring Maritime Security

According to US Naval Forces Central Command, the exercise aimed to strengthen interoperability among American and British forces in mine-hunting operations.

It also served as a way for the two countries to show their commitment to keeping maritime sea lanes open and “ensuring maritime security throughout the region.”

“This exercise has enabled us to increase our proficiency in mine countermeasures and enhance the integration of our tactics from the air and sea,” UK Royal Navy Capt. Derek McKnight explained.

“As a combined US-UK task force, it is an honor and a pleasure to work closely together.”

Earlier this year, both Washington and Britain conducted a similar exercise in the Arabian Gulf. Dive teams and explosive ordnance disposal technicians from France also assisted.

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