Middleton goes minehunting

HMS Middleton, a Portsmouth-based Royal Navy minehunter on exercise with the US Navy in the Arabian Gulf.
HMS Middleton, a Portsmouth-based Royal Navy minehunter on exercise with the US Navy in the Arabian Gulf.
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ROYAL Navy minehunter HMS Middleton flaunted her hunting prowess to the US Navy – finding 13 dummy sea mines in a Gulf exercise.

The Portsmouth-based warship worked with the Americans in a training operation to practise searching for mines in the warmer waters of the Arabian Gulf.

The 10-day exercise also saw the US Navy deploy its MH 53E Sea Dragon – a helicopter that can sweep for mines from the air.

Middleton’s find of 13 mines, which had been laid by friendly forces, was a successful haul for the warship – particularly as the temperature of the water can make it more difficult for the ship’s sonar to detect ordnance. The water weakens the returning signal so the mine warfare teams have to be more precise with their searches.

Sub Lieutenant Christopher Chew, who is Middleton’s navigating officer, said: ‘The ability to work closely with other units, particularly from different nations, allows HMS Middleton to be constantly ready to be deployed anywhere in the world, whatever the scenario.’

The navy’s minehunters are widely recognised as the best in the world – as was proven by the efforts of HMS Brocklesby and HMS Bangor in action off Libya last year.