A mine countermeasures exercise, involving seven Navies has drawn to a close in Hobart.
Exercise DUGONG 15 brought mine warfare and dive teams from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and United States together for two weeks to practice contemporary mine warfare and dive salvage techniques and procedures. New Zealand also took part, deploying headquarters personnel. Two Swedish officers and one Indian officer attended as observers.
Commander Australian Mine Warfare Clearance Diving Task Group, Commander Max Muller, said maintaining freedom of navigation and movement through sea lanes for legitimate maritime trade is of vital importance to Australia and our allies.
“Ninety-eight per cent of our trade by volume travels by sea - so it is important we preserve maritime security and remain at the cutting edge of mine warfare and salvage diving, to keep maritime traffic flowing,” Commander Muller said.
“During the exercise, each Navy demonstrated their latest equipment and skills, as we worked together to locate and deal with sea mines and underwater obstructions within a complex post conflict scenario, in some challenging environmental conditions.
“We also used the exercise as an opportunity to assess HMAS Yarra and Australian Naval Reserve Diving Team 10 against their required competencies.
“In practice, this involved operating our ships and equipment against some realistic training aids and sophisticated underwater sensors to provide units with in-stride analysis and feedback on their performance.
“Ultimately this helped improve the Task Group’s ability to locate, identify, exploit and dispose of underwater munitions, and to conduct salvage operations and obstacle clearance.
“It was a unique and valuable opportunity to work closely with our coalition partners, as the Royal Australian Navy values these relationships and being able to share our expertise,” Commander Muller said.
The Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Task Group, Sea Training Group, HMAS Yarra, DMS Seahorse Horizon, Mine Warfare Team 16, Australian Clearance Diving Team Four, the Defence Science and Technology Group, Australian Maritime Warfare Centre, the Mine Warfare Faculty and the Guided Weapons Sustainment Program Office, along with the Hobart-based Australian Naval Reserve Diving Team Ten represented Australia at DUGONG 15.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20152765.