U.S. Navy, Allies Find Less Than Half the Sea Mines Planted in Key Exercise
A major international naval exercise last month in and around the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, led by the U.S. Navy with more than 30 other nations participating, located fewer than half of the practice mines laid at sea.
This outcome of the highly publicized military drills — not publicly known until now — underscores how difficult it may be for the United States and its partners to detect and incapacitate waterborne explosive devices that Iran has threatened to plant if its nuclear facilities come under attack.
Out of the 29 simulated mines that were dropped in the water, “I don’t think a great many were found,” retired Navy Capt. Robert O’Donnell, a former mine warfare director for his service, told the NewsHour. “It was probably around half or less.”
Navy officials, though, said the drill was constructive and asserted that focusing on the number of mines detected alone would paint an incomplete picture.
“We enjoyed great success,” said Cdr. Jason Salata, the top public affairs officer for the 5th Fleet. “Every platform that was sent to find a shape found a shape. We stand by that.” Salata asserted that “there were no missed mines, each platform that had an opportunity to find the mine did so.”