Tensions between Iran and the rest of the civilized world are progressing as steadily as Iran’s own controversial nuclear program. In response to any military threat, Iranian diplomats say they’ll mine the Strait of Hormuz—a bottle-necked waterway upon which the world’s oil trade depends.
Seems like the perfect time for a 30-nation, U.S. led mine clearing exercise in the water off the coast of Bahrain.
The 12th International Mine Countermeasures Exercise, which kicked off Sept. 17, features some of the Coalition Force’s cutting edge mine interdiction technology. According to an official statement of the U.S. Navy, the exercise “focuses on interoperability among navies and also among the triad of air, ship and undersea platforms that deliver full-spectrum mine countermeasures capability.”
Business Insider’s own Robert Johnson just touched down to cover the two-week long exercise, so expect exclusive coverage as the training progresses.
First of all, the U.S. has lots of friends: Here we see the British Victoria refueling the USS Porter. A total of 30 nations are joining this naval exercise.
The Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) is quick to deploy and quick to recover. But the strength isn't in the speed, it's in the personnel it carries.
Upward of a half dozen of the Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) sailors can shoot off the deck of U.S. Naval ships to interdict mine activity.
Britain's got Scuba qualified technicians. These guys are as proficient as the U.S. underwater bomb disposal units, and in fact, got some practice recently when a hapless fishermen found some WWII depth charges right off their own coast.
The SEALs and EOD techs don't even need their little boat to do the job, they'll jump or repel out of a CH-53 Super Stallion
The CH-53 Mine Hunter will tow electric or magnetic mine sweeping countermeasures above the water—which means, in the case of certain types of mines, it can render the bombs inert just by flying over them.
And with helos, air resupply means that logistics ships don't need to get so close to the fight. These birds can carry 30,000 lbs of food and fresh toilet paper to sailors busy hooking and jabbing with the enemy.
On the ship, glow in the dark super speedy mine location systems give the Navy's Mine Countermeasure Ships eyes in the water.
So they can locate and deploy explosive countermeasures. Playing with bombs is tough enough on the ground, but scuba qualified EOD Techs can wire mines from beneath the waves.
Or they could use a high-speed bomb placing robot. The SEABOTIX underwater recon vehicle can get right up close to place bombs on top of mines.
Or the Navy could use it's fanged AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization Vehicle, which has low acoustic and low magnetic technology, making it invisible to modern mines.
AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization Vehicle on board mine countermeasure
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