former Soviet states, possess mining capability, and any nation can acquire such a capability in a matter of months. At least 21 countries are known to produce mines, and 13 are confirmed mine exporters. The People's Republic of China, for instance, has sold copies of Russia's AMD/KMD II bottom influence mines in both the 500- and 1,000-kg versions and has marketed its own rocket-propelled mine, the EM52, designed to be deployed in relatively deep water against both submarines and surface ships. Yugoslavia produces mines based on Russian designs. Italy produces the Manta and computer-controlled MP-80 influence mines. It was a Manta mine laid in about 60 feet of water that seriously damaged the hull of the USS Princeton (CG-59) during the Persian Gulf War and disabled its Aegis antiair combat system and vertical launch system (VLS) missile batteries. Chile offers three mines for sale, including a microprocessor-controlled magnetic influence mine, the MS-L, and a version targeted at landing craft, the MS-C. Unfortunately, the known 45 producers of mines do not, in themselves, define the threat since virtually any country can produce an effective mine. It was the LUGM-145 moored contact mine produced by Iraq that damaged the USS Tripoli (LPH-10) during the Persian Gulf War. Further, mines do not have to be of modern design to pose an effective threat to naval operations. The mines used by Iran during Operation Ernest Will were from the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) with two upgrades. Many of the Turkish mines in the Dardanelles that forever changed world history during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I were Russian mines that floated through the Bosporus and were salvaged, refurbished, and replanted.
Although mines can be cheap and simple, countering mines will most probably become more difficult due to increasingly sophisticated fusing methods and the ease with which mine signatures can be reduced. Miniature solid-state firing mechanisms and logic processors will allow increasingly complex acoustic-, magnetic-, and pressure-triggered mines that will evade existing sweeping techniques. Mines with reduced acoustic signatures will seriously degrade the performance of mine hunting sonars. The plastic-hulled Manta and the wedge-shaped Swedish Rockan GMI-100 are current examples of reduced signature mines that are believed to be difficult to detect. It is not unreasonable to expect to encounter mine systems that use distributed sensors and remote command and control (RECO) activation or deactivation through acoustic or electromagnetic links.
During the past 45 years, in spite of the very modest effort devoted to mine design the explosive charge carried by the typical mine has essentially doubled in energy output; its instrument section has been reduced from 20 percent of its volume to a space the size of a soda can through the adoption of modern electronics; its lethality range has increased from a few tens of feet athwart ship to a half mile through the use of mobile warheads; its logic systems have been made more resistant to countermeasures; and through the use of stealth technology, its ability to evade mine hunting sonars has increased. Future naval forces will be confronted with more capable mines made possible by evolving technology.