US, French, UK navies kick off mine warfare drill in Persian Gulf

Ships from the navies of the US, the UK and France have kicked off the mine countermeasures exercise Artemis Trident in the Persian Gulf.

Ships sail in formation during Artemis Trident 19. Photo: US Navy

“Mine laying poses a risk to naval ships as well as merchant shipping vessels,” the US 5th Fleet said in an announcement.

“As mines threaten maritime traffic indiscriminately, the U.S., France and United Kingdom are dedicated to conducting tactical training to counter the risk of mines in order to support the continued free flow of commerce and freedom of navigation in this critical region.”

The tri-lateral exercise is aimed at enhancing cooperation, mutual mine countermeasure capabilities and interoperability.

It is led by the US Navy’s forward-deployed expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) and includes fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Sentry (MCM 3), Island-class coastal patrol boats USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) and USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332).

Royal Navy ships taking part in the drill are spearheaded by RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009) and include minehunters HMS Shoreham (M112) and HMS Ledbury (M30).

France’s Marine Nationale is represented by minehunters FS L’Aigle (M647) and FS Sagittaire (M650).

Photo: US Navy