A 1000lb bomb has been located and destroyed by Royal Navy minehunter HMS Penzance in the Gulf.
Following a five-day exercise with her French and US counterparts designed to improve co-operation between the three nations, the British minehunter then worked with the French to find and blow up four pieces of historic ordnance scattered on the seabed.
After a week spent scanning the search area in the northern Gulf in company with the FS Andromede, HMS Penzance found the 1000lb bomb.
Based in Bahrain, she's one of the UK’s four minehunters deployed to the region.
Despite lying 60 metres down, when detonated by a controlled explosion, it created a substantial shockwave on the surface.
Penzance’s Operations Officer Lieutenant Matt Bryers said:
“The size of this explosion really highlighted what a potential danger this ordnance posed,”
“It is clear today that our presence in the Gulf is vital, and it makes my job worthwhile to have ensured the safety of shipping in the area.”
The minehunter had just completed taking part in Exercise Artemis Trident which tested the three navies’ abilities to detect mines and work together to dispose of them, keeping sea lanes safe from navigation.
Then, having dealt with the real danger of a large bomb, HMS Penzance switched back into exercise mode by taking part in drill mines and training with the Americans and Bahrainis in the shallow waters off the coast of Bahrain.
The week’s efforts were concentrated on HMS Penzance’s team of specialist divers working side-by-side with the US Navy’s Underwater Unmanned Vehicles.
“This was a really great experience for me as a diver,” said Able Seaman (Diver) Jake Connell.
“We showed the US Navy our capabilities and worked really well together. It was interesting to see how they use their equipment and it made our searches a lot quicker operating together.”
The Sandown-class ship – which shares her base in Bahrain with sister HMS Shoreham plus Hunt-class minehunters HMS Atherstone and HMS Chiddingfold – then moved further out to sea with the Americans’ USS Gladiator to find and recover three large orange conical drill mines.
HMS Penzance’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Jim Blythe said:
“The last few weeks have really shown what the 21st-Century Royal Navy does – working with coalition partners and key alliances in the Gulf we are committed to a permanent presence in the region, developing the capacity of local navies and supporting peace and freedom of the sea for all.”
HMS Penzance is now undergoing a spot of maintenance in Bahrain to allow her to continue operations through the punishing heat of the Gulf summer.
Picture: Crown Copyright 2015 / Royal Navy