British Minehunter Exercises with USN in Arabian Gulf
Royal Navy minehunter HMS Middleton exercised in Gulf waters with USN special minehunting helicopter MH-53E Sea Dragon
As part of their regular practice searching for mines in the warmer waters of the Gulf, the ship's company worked alongside their coalition counterparts to exercise their already well-established techniques.
For the ten-day exercise, the US Navy deployed their MH-53E Sea Dragon - a specially designed helicopter that can sweep for mines from the air.
Finding 13 dummy mines that had been laid by friendly forces was a successful haul for HMS Middleton, particularly as the temperature of the water can make it more difficult for the ship's sonar to detect ordnance; the water weakens the returning signal so the mine warfare teams have to be more precise with their searches.
There are four Royal Navy minehunters based in Bahrain - currently HMS Middleton, Ramsey, Quorn and Pembroke - and the skills learned from working in the shallow waters helped the personnel from HMS Bangor and HMS Brocklesby last year when they found and destroyed mines laid by Colonel Gaddafi's regime off the coast of Libya.