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Intrepid acts by Monmouth as she joins French and Americans for Gulf exercise

Intrepid acts by Monmouth as she joins French and Americans for Gulf exercise
26 October 2017
HMS Monmouth, USS Shoup and FS Jean Bart threw their respective hats into the ring for Exercise Intrepid Sentinel, a two-day joint workout in the Gulf of Oman.

Each vessel brought something different to the party: Monmouth is a specialist submarine-hunter - although the emphasis on the Black Duke's nine-month stint east of Suez has been on tackling smuggling (drugs and arms to fund terrorism).

The Shoup is an all-purpose Arleigh Burke destroyer, and the veteran Jean Bart is designed to protect a task group from air attack.

All three respective navies have a long-standing commitment to keep the waters of the Gulf and Indian Ocean free and open to all lawful seafarers.

Although the goal is common, much of the work the ships carry out is either done independently or as part of national task groups. Link-ups between two navies are sporadic; involving three, even less frequent.

But they need to happen, because in the event of a crisis the three navies - and other allies committed to the Combined Maritime Forces directing the peacekeeping mission from Bahrain - will be expected to work side by side. Seamlessly.

The ability to work with key partner nations is critical to conducting operations

Commander Ian Feasey, HMS Monmouth's Commanding Officer

Hence Intrepid Sentinel. Sailors from the three navies traded places with their foreign counterparts to learn about different methods of fending off air attacks, submarines, basic navigation and seamanship and board and search.

Monmouth's Royal Marines/Royal Navy boarding team found £65m drugs after a 60-hour search of a dhow back in the summer.

They demonstrated the same techniques - though over a considerably shorter timespan - when they scoured the Shoup, playing the part of a suspect vessel.

There was also time for a spot of gunnery and a three-ship photo shoot before the trio went their separate ways.

"Intrepid Sentinel has provided a great opportunity to practise working together as friends and allies," said Sub Lt Alfred Pace, Monmouth's 2nd Officer of the Watch, who joined the Shoup. "It helped us understand how each country's navy operates to better our chances of winning at sea."

His comments were underlined by the Black Duke's Commanding Officer Commander Ian Feasey.

"The ability to work with key partner nations is critical to conducting operations," he said.

"Intrepid Sentinel allowed us to hone and refine our collective fighting capability, ensuring we remain at high readiness to provide a multinational response to emerging situations or crises."

Monmouth is in the closing weeks of her lengthy deployment. She's due to return to Plymouth in time for Christmas.

Images are courtesy of the US Navy.

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