The French Marine Nationale, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Navy, and U.S. Navy participated in multi-lateral mine countermeasures (MCM) exercise Artemis Trident (AT) 21 in the Arabian Gulf, April 18-29. This was the fifth iteration in the series of MCM exercises between the four partner nations held to enhance mine hunting and communications interoperability. Participating forces engaged in multiple simulated scenarios, conducting mine hunting and clearance, maritime security, force protection and dive operations training.
AT 21 also included the integration of unmanned underwater systems alongside traditional MCM capabilities, such as mine hunting ships and aircraft. Participating coalition forces included more than 700 personnel, seven mine countermeasures ships, two patrol boats, three expeditionary MCM companies, two helicopters and additional supporting staff from the four participating navies, with the Royal Navy’s landing ship dock RFA Cardigan Bay (L 3009) serving as exercise flag ship throughout.
“AT 21 reinforced the need for interoperability, flexibility and adaptability between our coalition partners, especially as we adopt and employ new technology like unmanned systems and artificial intelligence to our evolving inventory of MCM capabilities. We remain committed to increasing our understanding of our partners’ tactics, techniques and procedures, which enhances our collective readiness as we work together to safeguard freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce throughout this region” said Capt. Oscar Rojas, commander of TF 52, who led the planning and execution of the exercise.
The Fifth Fleet is a numbered fleet of the United States Navy. It has been responsible for naval forces in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean since 1995 after a 48-year hiatus. It shares a commander and headquarters with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) in Bahrain. As of 19 August 2020, the commander of the 5th Fleet is Vice Admiral Samuel J. Paparo Jr. Fifth Fleet/NAVCENT is a component command of, and reports to, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).