DUGONG tests shallow water mine countermeasures

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), LSIS Ernesto Sanchez (photographer)

Location(s): Bindoon Military Training Area, WA

Topic(s): Australian Clearance Diving Team FOUR, Exercise DUGONG

Defence personnel from Australia, United States and New Zealand take part in a live underwater demolition exercise at Bindoon Military Training Area in Western Australia as part of Exercise DUGONG 19. (photo: LSIS Ernesto Sanchez)
Defence personnel from Australia, United States and New Zealand take part in a live underwater demolition exercise at Bindoon Military Training Area in Western Australia as part of Exercise DUGONG 19.

The Royal Australian Navy’s premier international mine countermeasure exercise recently came to an end at Fleet Base West, Rockingham in Western Australia.

Exercise DUGONG 19, which also featured navies from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, plays a major role in enhancing interoperability between participating nations in all facets of maritime mine warfare.

The exercise provides a unique opportunity for members of our Navy to work closely with Australia’s international partners to develop skills in areas such as water space management and mine countermeasures.

Commanding Officer of Clearance Diving Team Four, Lieutenant Commander Ryan Post, said Exercise DUGONG 19 was a very successful exercise with all participating nations benefitting greatly from it.

“DUGONG provides very shallow water mine counter measure training, using both autonomous vehicles and clearance divers from participating nations,” he said.

“By bringing in our coalition partners we can work on our integration and improve how we operate together in the area of very shallow water mine countermeasures.”

Royal Canadian Navy Diving Officer Lieutenant Slava Khabiam said participating nations welcomed the chance to exchange various operational techniques with their coalition partners.

“Canada has been participating in DUGONG for the past few years and the exercise is very beneficial for our team as it allows us to develop our ability to integrate into an international environment,” he said.

“This is important because in any mine countermeasure operation we would not be working on our own, but as an international team.

“DUGONG 19 was a great success with plenty of dive time and was very beneficial to all involved,” Lieutenant Khabiam said.

First conducted in 1988, this was the 18th iteration of Exercise DUGONG.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20193054.