The Multinational Mine Warfare Exercise (MN MIWEX) began Sunday off the coast of South Korea with U.S., South Korean, and United Nations Command (UNC) Sending State nations Canada and the Philippines.
The exercise will have mine countermeasures ships, aircraft, and explosive ordnance personnel conduct a set of drills aimed at practicing procedures and tactics to detect and neutralize sea mines to create safe navigation routes, the Defense Department said.
It also aims to bolster mine countermeasures interoperability and readiness in response to any contingencies by the Korean Peninsula.
The exercise immediately follows a mine countermeasures symposium co-hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Korea and the Republic of Korea Navy at the Republic of Korea Headquarters in Busan from Oct. 12 to 14.
The symposium was intended to enhance mine countermeasure coordination, training, and cooperation while also improving capabilities in mine countermeasures operations.
The symposium included representatives from nine UNC Sending States: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and the UK. The Defense Department said UNC representatives not participating in the exercise would observe portions of it.
Navy Capt. Jim Miller, commodore of Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMROM) 7, whose staff is participating in the exercise, noted how helpful the exercise is.
“This exercise is an incredible opportunity for our [mine countermeasure] forces and our staff to conduct complex mine countermeasure operations with our much-valued allies and friends in support of the Republic of Korea navy and other nations committed to defending the Korean Peninsula,” Miller said in a Navy statement.
U.S. military units participating in MN MIWEX include staff from MCMROM 7, Mine Countermeasures Helicopter Squadron 14 Det. 2A and the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Chief (MCM-14).
The Chief is based out of Sasebo, Japan ,and deployed on Sept. 26 to conduct mine hunting and sweeping drills before participating in the exercise off South Korea.
“The relationship between the U.S. and ROK navies is stronger than it ever has been. Together our navies work to strengthen the alliance and relationships we have with the UNC Sending States through engagements like the symposium that highlight cooperation and interoperability,” Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, added.