Technology and skill contribute to minehunter operations in Korea

Published on LEUT Anthony Martin (author and photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Diamantina (M86), HMAS Gascoyne (M85), North East Asia Deployment, Double Eagle MkII/MkIII ROV, Multinational Mine Warfare Exercise (MIWEX)

The deck crew on HMAS Diamantina recover the starboard MDV following mine hunting operations. (photo: LEUT Anthony Martin)
The deck crew on HMAS Diamantina recover the starboard MDV following mine hunting operations.

Following a passage of more than 5600 nautical miles from their homeport in Sydney, a Royal Australian Navy Task Group consisting of minehunters, HMA Ships Diamantina and Gascoyne are taking part in the Multinational Mine Warfare Exercise (MIWEX 19) off the coast of the Republic of Korea.

Following a brief respite in Busan, Republic of Korea, both the vessels, along with a Task Group Command team, have joined in MIWEX 19 to test and demonstrate their mine warfare skills in a new environment.

A key piece of technology utilised in the Mine Warfare task is the Double Eagle MkII mine disposal vehicle (MDV), with each of the RAN minehunters deployed with two of these vehicles. These tethered submersibles are capable of acquiring suspect bottom objects, verifying those objects and, if required, disposing of those objects confirmed to be underwater mines.

Gascoyne deployed her MDVs on numerous occasions during the exercise to verify mine-like objects and then prosecute mines during the exercise.

Further enhancing each vessel’s mine warfare capability are the Mine Clearance Divers embarked as part of the crew who also provide positive identification and neutralisation of mines.

HMAS Gascoyne’s Mine Disposal Vehicle returns to the surface after a successful mine verification search.

HMAS Gascoyne’s Mine Disposal Vehicle returns to the surface after a successful mine verification search.

Diamantina’s Operations Officer, Lieutenant Justin Raward, said that the ship’s divers are braving the cool waters off Namhae, Republic of Korea, to locate and identify underwater mines and obstacles.

“Our success here is evidence of our quality training and preparation for this exercise,” Lieutenant Raward said.

“This is a terrific opportunity to demonstrate our skills to our regional partners and share knowledge in the Mine Warfare arena.”

Commanding Officer of Diamantina, Lieutenant Commander Darren McDevitt, has highlighted the significance of the RAN unit’s involvement in the exercise.

“The Republic of Korea Navy units out here with us know that we are here to share skills and experience in Mine Warfare operations,” Lieutenant Commander McDevitt said.

“It is a privilege to join our regional partners here and I am proud of the capabilities we have on show.”

Diamantina, Gascoyne and the Task Group Command team are taking part in the Multinational Mine Countermeasure Symposium and MIWEX 19 in the Republic of Korea as part of a four month North East Asian Deployment.