An MH-60S Sea Hawk attached to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 sits loaded with an Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) AN/ASQ-235 for use during Trident Warrior. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Timothy Wilson)

SAN DIEGO - Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) led multiple units through a mine countermeasure exercise (MCMEX) to test tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) during Trident Warrior 2020, July 13-16.

Trident Warrior is an annual large-scale, at-sea field experiment where the Navy selects potential initiatives that address capability gaps and provide inventive solutions in an operational environment.

"This mine warfare exercise provided a realistic and relevant training opportunity to collaborate with joint forces, as well as with industry, to practice the TTPs necessary to safely conduct full spectrum mine operations," said Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center. "This particular exercise allowed our personnel to gain reps and sets in their mine countermeasure and neutralization skills, and ultimately increase Fleet lethality and confidence."

Robertson, as the Global Mine Warfare Commander, facilitated the advanced-level training in this exercise to increase the tactical proficiency, lethality, and interoperability of mine warfare countermeasure capabilities in 3rd Fleet.

"It is always a great opportunity to plan and execute an exercise that will ultimately pay dividends for mine warfare, both in how we train, and how we will employ our tactics and techniques in a real world situation in the future," said Capt. Chris Merwin, director of SMWDC's Mine Warfare (MIW) division. "During this unprecedented time, it was a privilege to witness all participants coming together for this event to hone and refine their skills while deploying inert mines and conducting countermeasures and neutralization."

Units included in the training were SMWDC, USS Manchester (LCS 14), Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86, and the United States Air Force's 23rd Bomb Squadron and 34th Bomb Squadron.

The MCMEX training provided vital tactical training and proficiency to the operational fleet, in order to ensure that units remain lethal and ready.

SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. SMWDC headquarters is located onboard Naval Base San Diego and has four divisions located in Virginia and California focused on MIW, Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Anti-Submarine Warfare/Surface Warfare, and Amphibious Warfare.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86 loaded with a Mark 63 Quickstrike mine flies in support of Trident Warrior, July 15. (U.S. Navy/Lt. Travis Franklin)