HMS Middleton is a Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel (MCV) operated by the Royal Navy to seek out and destroy mines.
During it’s stay in London the ship was open to visitors whilst it was moored alongside HMS President near Tower Bridge.
The tour included the deck areas where various aspects of the ships mission and operation were on display. As the primary purpose of the ship is to detect and destroy mines the majority of the space is dedicated to this activity.
The SeaFox is a remotely operated underwater vehicle that comes in two variants – one to find and classify targets and a second, expendable, version that contains an explosive charge which is used to destroy the target mine.
The ships also carry Clearance Divers who undertake the same role as the robots in terms of identifying threats and then disposing of them but with the added advantage of being able to disarm mines rather than using explosives.
One other feature of the Hunt-class MCVs is that they carry compression chambers that are used to treat divers if they are suffering from decompression sickness – a risk with deep or long duration diving operations – these chambers are very specialised and expensive items of equipment and not all navies have them on their MCVs.
The ship also has a number of weapons for self-defence including a 30mm cannon mounted on a forward mount plus various minigun and machine gun mounting points.
The crew are also equipped with various small arms for force protection duties.
A report on her arrival in London can be seen here.