Exercise Ardent Defender

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Unexploded ordnance or UXO are explosive devices that did not explode therefore still possess threat to civilians and infrastructures alike. These could have been used during previous wars or terrorists acts and can be biological, improvised or nuclear in nature. The Navy has military diver specialists that perform recovery and safe disposal of UXOs located underwater.

Each year, the Royal Navy conducts several international exercises for bomb disposal. Divers, navy units and even civilians from six different countries gathered together to perform this exercise off of Canada’s West Coast. This particular military exercise is to provide training and practice on how to disarm improvised explosive devices placed in ships or other infrastructures.

The operation known as Ardent Defender consisted of eleven divers from the Royal Navy’s special diving team called Fleet Diving Unit Two or FDU2. They were responsible for gathering intelligence and neutralizing explosives.

One of the divers stated that this exercise has been very interesting because they had the opportunity to work and share best practices with people from different parts of the world. The training involved tracking explosive devices within a specified period of time.

Navy divers are equipped with various tools, remote-controlled vehicles and special skillset in performing bomb disposal operations.

Lieutenant Commander Sean Heaton (OIC of the FDU2) said, “All the nations have similar equipment and do the job in a similar way, but the British are held in high regard due to the fact that we’ve been the leaders in bomb disposal due to lessons learned from Northern Ireland and all the bombs placed over the years by terrorists. The water off Victoria is very similar to Scotland as it is clearer than most harbours, but colder than the south coast of England.”

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