The NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation conducted a scientific trial as part of the Italian MINEX 2014 from 6 to 23 May 2014, off the Italian coastline from Framura to Viareggio. The main purpose of the trial was to analyse the performance of modern minehunting systems in different seabed conditions, in order to provide guidance to NATO nations on how to optimize the use of these systems. The mission fitted perfectly in the exercise scenario simulating mine countermeasures operations to guarantee maritime security in coastal and very shallow water when there is presence of naval mines and asymmetric threats.
Before and during ITMINEX '14, NRV Alliance coordinated 4 AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) teams which operated 61 AUV sorties in 14 days, conducting 179 vehicle-hours at sea. In this context, CMRE scientists successfully demonstrated the new capabilities of the MUSCLE (Minehunting UUV for Shallow waters Covert Littoral Expeditions) autonomous underwater vehicle, which is a state-of-the-art mine hunting robot, equipped with high-performance synthetic aperture sonar (SAS).
The participation in ITMINEX'14 is the most realistic CMRE mine countermeasures exercise to date, whose results will guarantee extensive systems performance data collection to support CMRE daily research. NRV Alliance operated for the first time as command platform during a NATO exercise.
ITMINEX'14 involved 16 ships from 6 Nations including forces from the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) and the European Multinational Maritime Force EUROMARFOR. During the exercise, CMRE welcome onboard NRV ALLIANCE Rear Admiral Giorgio Lazio, Chief of Staff at NATO Maritime Command in Northwood (UK) and Cdr Nico Vasseur Director of the Belgian-Netherlands Naval Mine Warfare School in Eguermin.