Minehunting Robots in the Middle East: IMCMEX 2014

This year's United States FIFTH Fleet's International Mine Countermeasures Exercise is well underway in Middle East waters, running until 13 November.  This third iteration of the exercise will be the largest ever, with 6,500 sailors from 44 nations and 38 ships participating.  As with past exercises, unmanned undersea vehicle detachments from several countries will show off their latest hardware in a realistic operating environment.  A total of 19 UUVs will take part in the waters of the Arabian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the northern Red Sea.  On the U.S. side, a focus will be placed on overcoming unmanned mine-countermeasures challenges including the transfer of sensor data at sea, reducing unmanned mission duration, and enhancing trust in autonomy. 

One of the new unmanned technologies to be demonstrated during the exercise is Northrop Grumman's Mine-Hunting Unit (MHU) .  The MHU unmanned surface vehicle tested its ability to deploy, tow, and retrieve the AQS-24A Mine Detecting Sensor in the Arabian Gulf earlier this year. Other unmanned vehicles participating in the IMCMEX are highlighted below.

KUWAIT (Oct. 29, 2014) Sailors assigned to Commander, Task Group(CTG) 56.1 inform members of the Kuwait Naval Force about the Kingfish Underwater Unmanned Vehicle and dive gear scheduled to be used during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX). (U.S. Navy Photo).
GULF OF AQABA, Jordan (Nov. 1, 2014) British Royal Navy Clearance Diver Leading Seaman David Taylor, left, and Clearance Diver Leading Seaman Jim Craker, both from Fleet Diving Unit 3 and assigned to Task Group 522.3, monitor the progress of the REMUS underwater sonar system while participating in International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX).  (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Rolston/ Released)

MANAMA, Bahrain (November 3, 2014) A SeaFox mine neutralization vehicle is lowered into the Arabian Gulf from the British Royal Navy mine hunter HMS Atherstone (M38) - (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Mui/Released)


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