(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Combined US and UK naval forces recently concluded an anti-submarine exercise in the Sea of Oman including assets attached to the UK Response Force Task Group (RFTG) which recently arrived in the region as part of its Cougar 13 deployment.
The aim of the exercise was to help develop UK and US maritime interoperability in the warm and shallow waters of the Gulf region.
HMS Illustrious, RFA Fort Victoria, RFA Fort Austin, HMS Westminster, USS Bulkeley and the Los Angeles class submarine USS Dallas also took part in the exercise, according to a release from the UK Ministry of Defence.
The exercise was broken down into three phases. The ships and submarines initially tested acoustic and non-acoustics sensor performance, gaining useful real life data of the region. The second phase saw ships escorting HMS Illustrious as the Mission Essential Unit (MEU) along a passage whilst evading detection and simulated torpedo attacks by USS Dallas.
In the final phase, USS Dallas tried to locate and destroy RFA Fort Austin as the MEU, in a holding box which simulated an anchorage, as the UK and US naval ships provided protection.
Additional support was provided by anti-submarine sonar dipping Merlin helicopters embarked on HMS Illustrious and USS Bulkeley's Seahawk helicopter. HMS Westminster's Lynx helicopter provided an additional surface search and weapon carrying capability.
Petty Officer (Underwater Warfare) George Linehan on board HMS Westminster, said, ''This was an excellent opportunity to work with our close allies in anti-submarine warfare.''
The RFTG is UK's high readiness maritime force, comprising ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines, at short notice to act in response to any contingency tasking if required, according to the UK MoD.