The Mounts Bay, which is typically used for humanitarian relief missions in the Caribbean, is a civilian-crewed vessel that can transport troops and helicopters, according to Military.com, which noted that the experiment was carried out to see if MCM task groups are able to operate from a "vessel of opportunity."
Lt. Kristi Johnson, spokesperson for the US Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, further explained to the Navy Times earlier this month that the experiment would help to "refine and advance the Navy explosive ordnance disposal community's ability [to control an MCM task group]."
"The US Navy and Royal Navy have an enduring partnership, and mine countermeasures capabilities and technology are shared items of interest," she stressed.
Cmdr. Jon Haase, commanding officer of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Two, told Military.com that this was "the first time to take some kind of emerging technologies… [and] combine them with some advanced communication systems that allowed us to stay connected."
"[Mine countermeasures have] traditionally been done by helicopters; it's been done off of small boats; it's been done by underwater vehicles before. But to embark all of those players onto one platform — an allied platform nonetheless — and to integrate all of those from a central hub… is the contribution and difference," he said.
"From my perspective, what we've done is we've reduced the risk associated with having people in the middle of that minefield."
The recent joint operation saw American and British sailors working with one another to make sure that communication networks didn't interfere with each other as the experiment was carried out.
Participating units included Haase's MCM company, Norfolk-based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadrons 2 and 28 and minemen from the Mine Warfare Detachment 22. Virginia-based news station ABC 13 News Now reported that the units "ran the full experiment of detect-to-engage sequencing, from locating to neutralizing simulated explosive threats during the experiment."
Earlier this month, Haase told the Navy Times that such operations were a necessity in order to improve the "overall readiness" of MCM task groups and combat real world threats.