The waters in and around Jervis Bay were successfully cleared of ‘mines’ recently, during the Mine Counter Measure and Clearance Diving tactical training exercise – Exercise MULGOGGER.
In a fictional scenario, HMAS Gascoyne entered Jervis Bay, in response to the request of a friendly nation, to counter mines which had been laid to prevent the safe passage of shipping and attempts to seriously disrupt Sea Lines of Communication. In order to clear the minefields the crew of Gascoyne, under the direction of the Australian Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Task Group, conducted 24-hour mine countermeasure operations, which included the use of both the organic dive team and the Mine Disposal Vehicles to neutralise the mine threat, Australian Navy reported.
Throughout the exercise a number of systems were employed to clear the minefields. These included the Remus 100 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle operated by Defence Science and Technology Organisation and a combined magnetic and acoustic influence sweep, operated by the Mine Warfare Geospatial Deployable Systems Team from HMAS Waterhen.
Mine Warfare Sailors in HMAS Gascoyne spent days scanning the seabed for different types of sea mines including Manta, Stonefish, MK36 and AMK12.
The activities were coordinated from a purpose built field headquarters on the sports ground of HMAS Creswell. After two weeks of intense Mine Counter Measures operations, all the mines were successfully located, accurately identified and disposed.
“This is only my second mine countermeasure exercise and it has been really good to see how all the elements of our training come together. Working within a task group is not something we do often and it has been interesting to see the role they play,” Mine Warfare Sailor, Able Seaman Edgar Dunsby said.
Exercise Mulgogger is the first Mine Counter Measure and Clearance Diving exercise of the year and provides an ideal opportunity for personnel to develop and maintain core mine countermeasure skills. These skills will be further tested with the Western Pacific Naval Symposium and Exercise DUGONG in Tasmania, both scheduled for later this year.
“The threat of sea mines should never be under estimated, especially to a nation dependant upon the sea as a major artery of trade and defence,” Commanding Officer HMAS Gascoyne, Lieutenant Commander Alan Parton said.
MULGOGGER has also provided a number of opportunities for Gascoyne to host a visit by Commodore Warfare, Commodore Peter Leavy, conduct tactical development and conduct confidence checks of the newly upgraded variable depth sonar operating system.