Feb. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force concluded a nine-day mine warfare exercise off the Japanese coast, the Navy announced.
The annual event, this year named Mine Warfare Exercise 1JA 2021 and held in southwestern Japan's Ise Bay, is designed to increase mutual proficiency in mine countermeasure operations.
The nine-day exercise, which began on Jan. 28, involved a simulated clearing of a route for ships, using unit-level mine warfare tactics for mine hunting, detection and neutralization.
Ships and personnel of Mine Countermeasure Squadron 7, forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, including the mine countermeasures ships USS Patriot, USS Pioneer, USS Warrior and USS Chief, as well as Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14, Detachment 2A.
Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal technicians assigned to the Navy's Task Force 75 were embarked aboard the JMSDF mine warfare command ship JS Uraga and worked with JMSDF personnel to increase interoperability and proficiency in mine warfare operations, a Navy statement on Sunday said.
"This is our second bilateral mine sweeping exercise conducted in Ise Bay," said Rear Adm. Fukuda Tatsuya, Commander of the Japanese Mine Warfare Force. "This exercise follows the ones held in Mutsu Bay and Hyuga-nada Sea last year."