C
Mine Warfare and Mine Countermeasures—Current Status

As stated in the main text of this report, current MCM forces are designed primarily for a Cold War scenario. Specifically, the MCM force was designed to enable port breakout, to counter relatively deep ASW mines, and to counter mines in straits, choke points, and the outer continental shelf that might be used to impede the flow of logistics to Europe or, to a lesser extent, the western Pacific. Defense planners left to allies the task of clearing mines in the shallow-water approaches to their ports and their near-shore transit routes. It should also be recalled that the current U.S. capability was designed during that period when ''we never have to engage in another opposed amphibious assault" was the conventional wisdom. Now the United States is faced with a situation in which breakout from its own ports has, for the time being at least, lost importance and the threat of deep-water mining has diminished. Breakout from advanced points for prepositioning ships, however, is important. Moreover, conducting an opposed amphibious assault is once again a very real possibility, and regional allies may not be available to clear shallow-water approaches to logistical support offloading sites and landing areas. The United States cannot be sure that it will have the MCM assistance of coalition forces as it did during the Persian Gulf War.

The Navy's current MCM capability includes the following major systems:

  • MCS-12 mine countermeasures command, control, and support ship USS Inchon (LPH-12). Equipped with a modern C-I system, the Inchon will provide full mission planning and execution and evaluation capabilities to support an MCM squadron commander and staff, as well as support for airborne mine coun-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 93
Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000–2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force, Volume 7 Undersea Warfare C Mine Warfare and Mine Countermeasures—Current Status As stated in the main text of this report, current MCM forces are designed primarily for a Cold War scenario. Specifically, the MCM force was designed to enable port breakout, to counter relatively deep ASW mines, and to counter mines in straits, choke points, and the outer continental shelf that might be used to impede the flow of logistics to Europe or, to a lesser extent, the western Pacific. Defense planners left to allies the task of clearing mines in the shallow-water approaches to their ports and their near-shore transit routes. It should also be recalled that the current U.S. capability was designed during that period when ''we never have to engage in another opposed amphibious assault" was the conventional wisdom. Now the United States is faced with a situation in which breakout from its own ports has, for the time being at least, lost importance and the threat of deep-water mining has diminished. Breakout from advanced points for prepositioning ships, however, is important. Moreover, conducting an opposed amphibious assault is once again a very real possibility, and regional allies may not be available to clear shallow-water approaches to logistical support offloading sites and landing areas. The United States cannot be sure that it will have the MCM assistance of coalition forces as it did during the Persian Gulf War. The Navy's current MCM capability includes the following major systems: MCS-12 mine countermeasures command, control, and support ship USS Inchon (LPH-12). Equipped with a modern C-I system, the Inchon will provide full mission planning and execution and evaluation capabilities to support an MCM squadron commander and staff, as well as support for airborne mine coun-

OCR for page 93
Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000–2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force, Volume 7 Undersea Warfare termeasures, explosive ordnance disposal, MCM detachments, and surface mine countermeasures ships. The Avenger-class MCM-1 ship capable of mine sweeping, mine hunting, and mine neutralization: the MCM-1 carries the AN/SQQ-30 (AN/SQQ-32 on later ships of the class) variable-depth mine hunting sonar and the AN/SLQ-48 mine neutralization vehicle. The Osprey-class MHC-51 coastal mine hunter equipped with the AN/ SQQ-32 variable-depth mine hunting sonar and the AN/SLQ-48 mine neutralization vehicle. The MH-53E Sea Stallion MCM helicopter capable of sweeping mechanical (Mk-103) and influence (Mk-104/105/106, AN/SPU-1 Orange Pipe) mines and mine hunting (AN/AQS-14). Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and special forces (i.e., SEALs capable of mine intelligence, reconnaissance, and the placement of neutralization charges). The Mk-4 (moored mine hunting), Mk-5 (mine recovery), Mk-6 (swimmer defense), and Mk-7 (bottom mine hunting) mammal systems. These systems are capable of detecting buried mines and placing neutralization charges on moored, bottom, and buried mines. At present, no other country can match the MCM capability resident in these six systems. Although countries such as Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium have a respectable MCM capability, none have airborne MCM, nor do they have mammal systems with their unique mine hunting and mine neutralization capabilities. This is not to say, however, that the U.S. Navy's existing systems represent a balanced, trouble-free capability. The Italian nonmagnetic Isotta-Fraschini diesel engines, which are the main power systems aboard the MCM-1 and MHC-51, have experienced the "teething" problems expected of any new design. Limited to speeds of 13.5 and 15 knots, respectively, these ships cannot deploy with the battle group and must be forward deployed or transported to a crisis site by heavy-lift ship as was done in the Persian Gulf War. The AN/SLQ-48 mine neutralization vehicle used by both the MCM-1 and the MHC-51 is not well suited to the neutralization of shallow-water mines. The vehicle tends to be underpowered and may leave on the bottom a mine that looks like a mine to any subsequent sonar search and an explosive charge subject to later detonation under proper impact conditions. Although the MH-53E MCM helicopter has mine hunting capability, it does not yet include a neutralization component and the helicopters are not equipped with GPS receivers. Further, MH-53Es are not equipped with artificial horizon and night vision equipment and are thus incapable of night operations.

OCR for page 93
Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000–2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force, Volume 7 Undersea Warfare SYSTEMS UNDER DEVELOPMENT The primary MCM systems currently being developed are included within the scope of the Joint Countermine Advanced Concepts Technology Demonstration Phases I and II. Although additional concepts currently are being considered for Phase III ACTD, this phase has not yet been authorized. Joint Countermine ACTD Over the years the problem with advancing the capability of U.S. MCM forces has not been the lack of good ideas or the lack of a technically skilled research team. During the Cold War years, many excellent and needed technical advancements entered the research and development program, but few emerged. In many of these cases the project was canceled not because the concept was found to fall short of expectations but because funding support was diverted to other weapons or countermeasures projects that were considered more important. Additionally, there has been too little attention to viewing MCM forces as a total system in which operational requirements needed for a balanced capability are recognized, technical solutions (frequently already in the R&D program) are identified, and program components are protected until they reach service use. The recently introduced ACTD program offers a solution to both of these problems. The ACTD is a joint effort in which each service with a stake in a given warfare area, or component of an area, submits for competition those of its concepts already elevated to the status of advanced technology demonstration (ATD). The ATDs chosen for an ACTD are those that can be brought to the prototype stage for performance demonstration, or adequately modeled for such, in the near term-usually two to five years. The performance of the concept is evaluated in an exercise, and the results are used to reach a decision on acceptance or rejection. At a minimum, the fleet is left with a useful prototype from among the accepted concepts. The Joint Countermine ACTD now in effect consists of concepts submitted by the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps and covers sea mines, very shallow water mines and obstacles in the surf zone and the craft landing zone, and inland land mines. The officially accepted Joint Countermine ACTD consists of 12 MCM concepts broken down into two phases for demonstration before the end of this decade. It should be pointed out that due, in part, to the limitation on the number of concepts accepted for a given phase, the ACTD does not represent, in full, those concepts required to produce a balanced MCM capability up to the craft landing zone for the Navy-Marine Corps team. The MCM concepts accepted into Phases I and II of the Joint Countermine ACTD are identified and described briefly below.

OCR for page 93
Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000–2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force, Volume 7 Undersea Warfare Joint Countermine ACTD Phase I Littoral remote sensing (Generation One). Also called Radiant Clear, this concept aims at the fusion of surveillance data obtained from national assets and from theater, tactical, civilian, and commercial sensors to provide information on mine movement from bunker to mine layer to minefield, including the mining and fortification of beaches and very shallow water. Dolphin-towed advanced sensors. Now known as the Remote Minehunting Operational Prototype (RMOP), this proof-of-concept-only program utilizes a forward-looking and towed side-scan sonar aboard the Dolphin semi-submersible vehicle to detect and classify mines from deep to shallow water. Utilized in a semi-covert minefield reconnaissance role, RMOP is radio controlled, utilizes GPS navigation, transmits its data in real time, and is to be transported, launched, operated, and recovered by a Navy combatant. Magic Lantern (Adaptation), or ML(A). ML(A) is a helicopter-mounted laser system for the detection of mines in shallow water, in very shallow water, on the beach, and inland. This is a joint Army, Navy, Marine Corps version that is not intended to detect moored and floating mines in deeper water. Coastal battlefield reconnaissance and analysis (COBRA). COBRA utilizes a UAV platform equipped with multispectral video sensors for mine and obstacle detection and a forward-looking video for battlefield surveillance to provide a surveillance and reconnaissance capability for detecting mines and obstacles in the SZ, in the CLZ, and inland. A ground station link provides realtime mission assessment and postprocessing of data for minefield and obstacle identification. Airborne standoff minefield detection system (ASTAMID). This Army system is similar to the Marine Corps COBRA mine detection system in that it is mounted on a UAV. Rather than a multispectral video sensor, however, ASTAMID uses an IR sensor to detect the thermal contrast between a proud land mine and the surrounding ground, or between disturbed and undisturbed ground in the case of buried mines. Explosive neutralization. There are two different methods: (1) SABRE, a rocket-propelled line charge that is fired out ahead of an LCAC or other type of craft and (2) a distributed explosive array net that contains shaped explosive charges at its nodes and is projected ahead of an LCAC to neutralize mines in the surf zone and the craft landing zone. Joint amphibious mine countermeasures (JAMC). JAMC is a Marine Corps program that is intended to clear mines and obstacles from the high-water mark through the craft landing zone by dragging a heavy chain between two D-7 bulldozers using plows to clear their own path. Army classified program. This classified Army program is intended to provide standoff neutralization of metallic and nonmetallic land mines. Close-in Man-portable Mine Detector (CIMMD). This Army ATD is

OCR for page 93
Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000–2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force, Volume 7 Undersea Warfare intended to improve the present hand-held mine detection system by making it sensitive to both metallic and nonmetallic mines. Off-route Smart Mine Clearance (ORSMC). This Army system utilizes a HUMVEE modified for low observability to serve as a decoy or guinea pig against smart mines designed to deliver a projectile against armored vehicles. Joint Countermine ACTD Phase II The following naval systems will be included in Phase II: Near-term mine reconnaissance system. The NMRS is a 21-inch-diameter torpedo-shaped UUV to be deployed, controlled, and recovered via fiberoptic link from a submarine. Its purpose is to serve as a covert minefield reconnaissance vehicle capable of transmitting its data in real time. Littoral remote sensing (Generation Two). Includes several advancements over Generation One, particularly with respect to the fusion of data from material assets. Advanced Lightweight Influence Sweep System (ALISS). The ALISS concept utilizes advanced acoustic and magnetic techniques to sweep influence mines. UUV advanced sensors. This ATD emphasizes advanced sensors developed for use by a 21-inch-diameter UUV. The sensors consist of a toroidal volume search sonar, a side-looking sonar, a synthetic aperture sonar, and a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetic sensor.