RAMSEY and the Sea Dragons – the Sandown Class Minecountermeasure Vessel RAMSEY, based in the Gulf and working out of Bahrain; was one of the participants at the recent large scale multi-national IMCMEX exercise during which the US Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15, also based in Bahrain worked with the British ship ahead of a joint exercise involving the two, Artemis Trident.
The MH-53SEA DRAGON, known as the “Blackhawks” is the largest helicopter in the Western World – one third as big again as a MERLIN. Both the RAMSEY and the MH-53 helicopter can launch SEAFOX – the small robot submarine which is a couple of metres long, powered by batteries which drive four small propellers it carries a camera, searchlight and, when required, a 1.5kg explosive charge – to find and destroy underwater devices. Whilst the capabilities of the SANDOWNs will be well know to readers the SEA DRAGON are not so well known. These helicopters can trawl a cutting wire behind to scythe mines from their tethers before divers jump in to neutralise the explosives, or tow a hydrofoil special sled which creates a magnetic field to trigger mines. There is also a sweep with an acoustic device.