Royal Navy’s Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel HMS Hurworth has joined NATO ships to support NATO on minehunting operations around Europe.
The minehunter has joined NATO Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1 and will support on ordnance clearance and other minehunting exercises.
To ensure, the vessel is ready; the crew took HMS Hurworth around the UK to prepare for the deployment, undergoing tests on their equipment, gunnery drills and emergency scenarios.
Within the harbour, they tested their remotely-piloted underwater vessel Seafox which is used to locate mines while the Officers of the Watch practised maneuvering the ship.
Hurworth then headed to HMNB Clyde for two weeks of assessments to ensure they can deploy with NATO. During the fortnight, they tested navigating without GPS and with defects to the bridge, firefighting, damage control and live firing of their weapons.
They also completed a winching exercise with the coastguard and practised against attacks from fast boats with P2000 HMS Raider acting as the enemy.
Next they turned to the diving aspect of their operations. They deployed Seafox and autonomous underwater vehicle Remus while divers embarked on Hurworth carried out mine laying and recovery drills and diving in emergencies.
With their preparation complete, the minehunter headed through the Irish Sea, past Lands’ End and into Portsmouth where the ship raised the NATO flag.
“We stand united with NATO delivering security and prosperity to our area of operations, by ensuring trade routes remain open and removing historical ordnance from the ocean seabed,” Commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Simon Reeves said.
HMS Hurworth is one of eight dedicated mine countermeasures vessels in the Royal Navy. Introduced in the early 1980s, the capabilities of the Hunt class have been significantly enhanced by the installation of Type 2193 sonar and the NAUTIS 3 command system.