UK: HMS Quorn Guides Task Group Safely through Troubled Waters
Royal Navy minehunter HMS Quorn has led two of the largest ships in the fleet through a simulated mine threat area as part of the launch of Exercise Sea Khanjar in the Gulf.
The scenario for the five-day exercise was for the Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark and Helicopter and Commando Carrier HMS Illustrious to be guided through mine-infested waters by the Portsmouth-based minehunter.
For Exercise Sea Khanjar, the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces are working with the Royal Navy’s Cougar 13 Task Force which is on a four month deployment.
Using Sonar types 2193 (Hunt Class) and 2093 (Sandown Class) to detect any possible mine threat to the Task Group, Mine Counter Measures Vessels (MCMVs) are the vanguard to any collection of ships proposing to enter dangerous or disputed waters.
Four are based in Bahrain in the Gulf all year round to ensure freedom of the seas for shipping..
Sea mines remain a real and current threat with more than 250,000 existing worldwide in the inventories of over 50 navies.
Sea Khanjar is focusing predominantly on amphibious training, including boarding exercises; range work, including live firing; amphibious training and urban combat in desert conditions. It is one of a series of exercises for the Response Force Task Group which left the UK in August.
Lieutenant Commander Eleanor Stack, Commanding Officer of HMS Quorn, said:
“My team on board HMS Quorn work extremely hard day and night in a particularly precise and methodical branch of warfare.
“When we are given this type of tasking, we know that it is not only to keep Royal Navy vessels safe but also to ensure the freedom of navigation for anyone who wishes to use the seas for trade and peaceful purposes.
“Being able to lead both the Fleet Flagship and HMS Illustrious through waters that Quorn had made safe was extremely exhilarating and it is always rewarding to see the work we carry out coming to fruition.”
The Cougar 13 deployment operates in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf, and Horn of Africa.
It involves exercising with partner nations, and will show the UK Armed Forces’ capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world as part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group, commanded by Commodore Paddy McAlpine.
The RFTG is the United Kingdom’s high readiness maritime force, comprising ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines, at short notice to act in response to any contingency tasking if required.
Press Release, October 11, 2013; Image: Royal Navy