Navy keeps mine-warfare options open: budget cuts and ongoing changes in concept of operations slow down programs.Among the most mind-numbing jobs in the U.S. Navy is the uncovering and defusing of deadly mines located throughout the world's oceans. The work is tedious, but essential to the conduct of U.S. military operations This is a list of missions, operations, and projects. Missions in support of other missions are not listed independently. World War I
''See also List of military engagements of World War I
Mines can be floating or rising devices that typically are placed in deep water. Moored and buried mines, by and large, are scattered in shallow water See:
More than 50 countries currently possess mine inventories and are able to deploy more than 300 varieties of mines.
Finding and eliminating these underwater killers are jobs assigned to the Navy's dedicated mine countermeasure (MCM (MultiChip Module or MicroChip Module) A chip package that contains several bare chips mounted close together on a substrate (base) of some kind. ) force, which consists of 14 Avenger class and 12 Osprey osprey (ŏs`prē), common name for a bird of prey related to the hawk and the New World vulture and found near water in most parts of the world. class mine hunter-killers, two MH-53 helicopter squadrons, and a specialized explosive ordnance disposal unit Personnel with special training and equipment who render explosive ordnance safe (such as bombs, mines, projectiles, and booby traps), make intelligence reports on such ordnance, and supervise the safe removal thereof. . The USS USS
1. United States Senate
2. United States ship
USS abbr (= United States Ship) → Namensteil von Schiffen der Kriegsmarine Inchon command-and-control ship for countermine operations was decommissioned earlier this year, and the Navy now is seeking a replacement.
In the future, the Navy wants to have an array of advanced mine detectors and anti-mine capabilities aboard each carrier battle group. Officials decided several years ago that the dedicated MCM force, although competent, is not able to respond and reach the combat zone quickly enough. In the mid 1990s, the Navy started a program to develop a set of organic mine countermeasure systems that would travel with each battle group. The service has spent between $200 million and $300 million during the past five years on the development of these technologies. The cost of deploying organic MCM systems aboard ships and helicopters is not known, given that the Navy has not yet defined what the organic MCM force will look like.
As recently as two years ago, the Navy's official plan was to have the organic MCM systems in place on 10 carrier battle groups by 2005. Over time, the dedicated force would be downscaled. The MCM systems for each carrier group would include five airborne devices, based on helicopters, as well as two unmanned submersibles--one launched from a destroyer and the other from a submarine.
But Navy officials now concede that the original organic MCM concept was flawed, because it did not thoroughly consider the logistics and operational implications for the battle group. "The problem with organic MCM was that the conops [concept of operations A verbal or graphic statement, in broad outline, of a commander's assumptions or intent in regard to an operation or series of operations. The concept of operations frequently is embodied in campaign plans and operation plans; in the latter case, particularly when the plans cover a series ] was not thought through," said one former U.S. Navy mine warfare The strategic, operational, and tactical use of mines and mine countermeasures. Mine warfare is divided into two basic subdivisions: the laying of mines to degrade the enemy's capabilities to wage land, air, and maritime warfare; and the countering of enemy-laid mines to permit friendly officer who did not want to be quoted by name.
The desirability of organic MCM systems has not changed, but the plan had to be revised, because surface-warfare officials complained that the MCM equipment and associated manpower could end up diverting resources away from combat operations.
These concerns, in addition to budget cutbacks to the organic MCM program, prompted the Navy's mine-warfare requirements office to downscale To resize lower or convert down. See scale, downsample and downconvert. the program and seek a new approach for deploying organic MCM.
Under the current plan, the Navy will go ahead and begin fielding organic MCM systems in 2005, but at a "limited rate," said Capt. James Rennie, head of mine warfare programs at the office of the chief of naval operations chief of naval operations
n. pl. chiefs of naval operations Abbr. CNO
The ranking officer of the U.S. Navy, responsible to the secretary of the Navy and to the President. .
Adding a new twist to the MCM program is the possible introduction in the U.S. Navy of a small surface combatant A ship constructed and armed for combat use with the capability to conduct operations in multiple maritime roles against air, surface and subsurface threats, and land targets. , called the Littoral Combat Ship The Littoral Combat Ship is the first of the U.S. Navy's next-generation surface combatants. Intended as a relatively small surface vessel for operations in the littoral region (close to shore), the LCS is smaller than the Navy's guided missile frigates, and have been compared to . The LCS LCS - Language for Communicating Systems could end up becoming a core platform for many of the MCM systems that originally had been assigned to destroyers or submarines, Rennie told National Defense.
Some time next spring, the Navy will unveil an updated version of its mine warfare "master plan." The release of a revised master plan, however, does not imply that the basic strategy for fielding mine countermeasures All methods for preventing or reducing damage or danger from mines. Also called MCM. has changed, Rennie said.
Even though there will be cutbacks in the program, he said, "There is no change in strategy."
The notional makeup of the organic MCM force in each battle group would include three airborne platforms (sensor-towing helicopters), a submersible submersible, small, mobile undersea research vessel capable of functioning in the ocean depths. Development of a great variety of submersibles during the later 1950s and 1960s came about as a result of improved technology and in response to a demonstrated need for attached to a submarine (called LMRS LMRS Long-term Mine Reconnaissance System (US Navy)
LMRS Land Mobile Radio Service
LMRS Livestock Market Reporting Service
LMRS Land Mobile Radio System , for long-range mine reconnaissance system) and three larger submersibles (called RMS, for remote mine hunting system) that would be launched from destroyers or from the LCS.
In the Navy's five-year budget, the MCM program has taken some hits, Rennie said. The upshot is that not every battle group will have as many MCM systems as planned.
"We are backing off a couple of systems, not because of technology...but rather as a result of affordability problems and some administrative issues," he said.
The deployment schedule and quantities of MCM systems ultimately may change, said Rennie, because the Navy wants the fleet to test and experiment with the MCM technology, before any final decisions are made. That does not mean necessarily that the "fleet doesn't like mine warfare," he said. "Once we determine effectiveness, we may adjust the ultimate final quantities in the fleet."
The perception that the fleet does not welcome organic MCM was fueled by statements from some Navy officials, who questioned whether the anti-mine equipment and associated duties would place undue logistical burdens on the warfighting units.
Earlier this year, Vice Adm. Timothy LaFleur, commander of the US. Pacific Fleet's naval surface force, said chat it would be too costly and inefficient to add organic MCM systems to existing warships. But he said he supports using the LOS as an anti-mine platform.
"I absolutely think the surface Navy has accepted mine warfare," said LaFleur during a round table with reporters. "Whether we do it organically or whether we do it as part of the littoral combat ship, is the real debate.
"I don't think it is efficient to do it organically, the way it was originally envisioned," he said.
LaFleur speculated that the LCS would be a more suitable platform for MCM systems than destroyers or cruisers. "You can fly in the mission package, load it aboard the littoral combat ship and move it to where you need ... within a number of hours,"
Adding MCM functions to destroyers may not make economic sense, he noted. "The organic capability would be very expensive to build into every ship ... because you don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. which ship is going to be where, when you run into a mine threat. ... Putting an unmanned submersible organic on every ship is really expensive.
The Navy had planned to install the RMS submersible on up to 17 new Arleigh-Burke class destroyers. The order now has been scaled back to six systems, and it's not clear how many of the six, if any, will be installed on destroyers or on LCS.
The reason why the Navy wanted organic MCM, said LaFleur, was to be able to clear a passageway for the battle group to sail through. If that is the case, he said, "Why don't I just put it on one ship that leads the others through the minefield. I don't need to put it on each and every ship."
The former mine-warfare naval officer NAVAL OFFICER. The name of an officer of the United States, whose duties are prescribed by various acts of congress.
2. Naval officers are appointed for the term of four years, but are removable from office at pleasure. Act of May 15, 1820, Sec. 1, 3 Story, L. said that the concerns voiced by LaFleur and other senior officials drove the Navy to reconsider the organic MCM concept of operations. "We don't want MCM to impede our other missions," he said. "They should not get in the way, but be available when needed."
The Navy's mine-warfare "master plan" is expected to reflect the new approach to organic MCM and will advocate experimentation with smaller LCS-type vessels.
As part of the experimentation effort, the Navy Warfare Development Command is leasing a high-speed catamaran catamaran (kăt'əmərăn`), watercraft made up of two connected hulls or a single hull with two parallel keels. Originally used by the natives of Polynesia, the catamaran design was adopted by Western boat builders in the 19th cent. from an Australian firm to explore the use of RIMS and other MCM systems aboard small vessels. The NWDC NWDC North Wiltshire District Council (UK)
NWDC Navy Warfare Development Command
NWDC Northwest Workforce Development Council
NWDC Northwest Designer Craftsmen
NWDC North West District Council
NWDC Northwest Drama Conference experiments will begin in the spring. The Navy, Army and Marine Corps already have been testing another leased catamaran, called the Joint Venture, during the past two years.
This summer, scientists from the Office of Naval Research The U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR), headquartered in Arlington, Virginia (Ballston), is the office within the U.S. Department of the Navy that coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the U.S. tested an unmanned reconnaissance mine-hunter vehicle, launched from the Joint Venture, during the so-called Fleet Battle Experiment Juliet, off the coast of California.
At the experiment, Joint Venture served as a platform for the Remote Environmental Monitoring Unit Systems (REMUS), a small unmanned submersible developed by the Office of Naval Research and the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Two REMUS prototypes have been deployed for use by a special-warfare unit, known as the Very Shallow Water Mine Countermeasure Detachment, in San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. . The unit includes Navy SEALs and Marines.
The 80-pound REMUS can perform reconnaissance missions in coastal waters up to 100 meters deep. The operators connect REMUS to a computer and program specific coordinates into the hard drive located inside the unit. The coordinates specify what area REMUS will survey.
Members of the MCM unit then transport it by boat to a specific location, drop it off and retrieve it, after the mission is completed. REMUS employs side-scan sonar Side-scan sonar (also sometimes called side scan sonar, sidescan sonar, side looking sonar, side-looking sonar and bottom classification sonar and high frequency imaging sonar to gather information, which can be downloaded after it's brought back to the ship.
During the Fleet Battle Experiment, the REMUS also was launched from the Sea Slice vessel, a novel design that has four separate underwater hulls. The manufacturer, Lockheed Martin For the former company, see .
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is a leading multinational aerospace manufacturer and advanced technology company formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta. Corp., is marketing the ship as a possible candidate for the Navy's LCS.
The Sea Slice also served as a platform for a side-scan sonar device--called Klein 5000--that was used to identify potential mine-like objects. Once the sonar found an object, REMUS would be sent over to identify it as a possible mine. Sidescan sonar picks up sound to produce images of the seafloor.
Systems such as the Klein 5000 and the REMUS could be applied in an organic MCM mission, said Robby Harris, program manager at Lockheed Martin. If the Navy chose to deploy the much larger Remote Mine Hunting System aboard the Sea Slice, a crane would be needed to lift the submersible aboard and to place it in the water.
The Navy SEALs, meanwhile, have fielded a modified version of the REMUS, known as the semi-autonomous hydrographic reconnaissance Reconnaissance of an area of water to determine depths, beach gradients, the nature of the bottom, and the location of coral reefs, rocks, shoals, and manmade obstacles. vehicle.
The SAHRV SAHRV Semi-Autonomous Hydrographic Reconnaissance Vehicle can be launched from a rubber craft or from a submarine. It is used by SEAL to scan sections of the ocean from the 21-foot to the 10-foot mark, and relies on side-scan sonar to identify obstacles.
The vehicle navigates via transponders that are installed 60-100 nautical miles from the shore. SEAL in Verb 1. seal in - close with or as if with a tight seal; "This vacuum pack locks in the flavor!"
confine - prevent from leaving or from being removed the craft can monitor the operation in real time and can reprogram re·pro·gram
tr.v. re·pro·grammed or re·pro·gramed, re·pro·gram·ming or re·pro·gram·ing, re·pro·grams
To program again.
re the vehicle. The SAHRV can search an 800 by 1,000-yard area in about 3.5 hours. The Special Operations Command A subordinate unified or other joint command established by a joint force commander to plan, coordinate, conduct, and support joint special operations within the joint force commander's assigned operational area. Also called SOC. See also special operations. is spending $25 million on the program and plans to field 14 vehicles.
The REMUS technology officially is not in the Navy's MCM acquisition program yet, but likely will be, once the testing and development work are completed, said Thomas Swean, program manager for ocean engineering and marine systems at the Office of Naval Research. He noted that the vehicle has been in development for more than 10 years.
The organic MCM technology, generally speaking, could be in the fleet much sooner than the 2005 planned deployment timeframe. The technology is ready, he said, but the expected budget cuts will slow down the program.
Swean said most of the REMUS demonstrations in the future will be aboard the HSV (Hue Saturation Value) A color space similar to HSB. See HSB.
HSV - hue, saturation, value catamaran, rather than the Sea Slice.
"REMUS is not a system locked into any particular boat," he said, It's small--about 85-90 pounds and 5-feet long. It could be deployed from helicopters or rubber boats.
He noted that REMUS is one of two autonomous unmanned reconnaissance vehicles that ONR ONR Office of Naval Research
ONR Ontario Northland Railway sponsored under the MCM program. The other system is called Cetus II, currently in development by Lockheed Martin Corp.
Cetus was designed for explosive-ordnance disposal applications, Swean explained. It is smaller and more maneuverable than REMUS. The Cetus sensors operate at short ranges but have much higher resolution, which help produce detailed images that are used to identify mines.
Very Shallow Waters
Under a separate program, ONR scientists are testing technologies that potentially could help crack one of the most vexing challenges in MCM--develop mechanical sensors that can identify mines accurately in shallow waters--less than 10-feet deep--as effectively as live dolphins and human divers do today.
Tim Schnoor, program manager for mine countermeasures at ONR, explained that shallow-water and surf areas offer ideal grounds for enemy mines, because the environment is cluttered with other metal debris, making it harder to detect the real mines.
Close to the beach, Schnoor said, "Typically, you have more mine-like objects, such as 55-gallon barrels, old refrigerators, cars, junk in general." Those are detectable by sonar, but are difficult to identify as mines or non-mines without putting other types of sensors in the water.
"We are developing sensors means of processing the data from the sensors that do as good or better than the marine mammals marine mammals
mammals inhabiting the sea; generally taken to include the cetaceans (whales, porpoise, dolphin), the sirenians (sea-cows, including manatees and dugong) and the pinnipeds (the carnivores of the group, seals, sealions, walruses). or divers with handheld devices," said Schnoor.
Sonar is the primary means of detection, because it's the only sensor that works in turbid tur·bid
Having sediment or foreign particles stirred up or suspended; muddy; cloudy.
tur·bidi·ty n. waters. Video cameras only are useful in clear waters.
Swean said he believes that REMUS will be able to replace the mammal. He noted that the Very Shallow Water Mine Countermeasure Detachment is divided into three platoons: a diver platoon, a mammal platoon and an underwater robots platoon, which is now being staffed with REMUS vehicles. Two REMUS systems were deployed shortly after 9/11 for harbor search.
"Mammals are very good, but they take a lot of care and feeding," said Swean. Small robotic vehicles are ideal for this mission, he said.
ONR also is involved in a program to develop mine breaching systems for use in amphibious operations. In recent years, Marine Corps officials have voiced disappointment about the Navy's failure to deploy anti-mine weapons for use in the surf zone, and up through the beach area. Marines have complained that the lack of mine breaching systems severely limits their flexibility in planning amphibious landings.
Breaching means either physically removing or detonating det·o·nate
intr. & tr.v. det·o·nat·ed, det·o·nat·ing, det·o·nates
To explode or cause to explode.
[Latin d mines located in the assault lane that Marines would traverse to gain safe passage ashore, along with their armored vehicles and heavy-duty landing craft.
The Navy spent at least $70 million to develop the Shallow Water Assault Breaching (SABRE) and Distributed Explosive Technology (DET DET diethyltryptamine.
Diethyltryptamine; a hallucinogenic agent similar to DMT. ), for this particular mission. But the Marines did not like these systems, because they were too cumbersome and labor intensive Labor Intensive
A process or industry that requires large amounts of human effort to produce goods.
A good example is the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, etc), they are considered to be very people-oriented.
See also: Capital Intensive, Trading Dollars .
About two years ago, ONR awarded $5 million in study contracts for companies to design short-term alternatives to the SABRE and DET.
Proposals are being evaluated, said Schnoor. Development contracts might be awarded during the next several months, he said.
The Navy did not allocate any funds in fiscal year 2003 for the mine-breaching program, because it's not yet clear what the specific requirements and missions for these systems are, said Rennie, head of the Navy's mine warfare branch. "It's still really early in the process," he said. The Navy wants to allow more time for ONR to complete the science and research work.
As part of another program that seeks a future, long-term replacement for the SABRE and DET, the Office of Naval Research awarded three contracts to Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Science Applications International Corp. for the development of surf-zone mine breaching systems.
"That effort looks at the far term, somewhere in 2010," said Schnoor. The three companies are working on mine breaching technologies that are based on precision-guided weapons. That program, he said, had begun long before the SABRE and DET were cancelled.
The long-term program is based on the concept that precision-guided weapons could be used to destroy mines. These weapons--likely to be cluster-type bombs--would be dropped from aircraft or fired by naval guns. Penetrating darts would be dispersed in a predictable pattern and would impact the mine casing, Schnoor explained. A chemical reaction from a material in the dart would cause the propellant pro·pel·lant also pro·pel·lent
1. Something, such as an explosive charge or a rocket fuel, that propels or provides thrust.
2. inside the mine to burn rapidly rather than explode, and would essentially neutralize the mine.
In order to break up obstacles, he added, the precision munitions mu·ni·tion
War materiel, especially weapons and ammunition. Often used in the plural.
tr.v. mu·ni·tioned, mu·ni·tion·ing, mu·ni·tions
To supply with munitions. could deliver a continuous rod warhead, which is an expanding metal band that would impact obstacles on the beach and surf zone, and cause them to break apart, so that amphibious assault craft can make safe passage.
Having adequate technologies for MCM operations is among the concerns of Col. Frank A. Panter Jr., commander of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. He also serves as the vice chief of ONR.
During a recent interview, he said that he is confident that the new mine-warfare master plan currently in the works at the Pentagon wili help move MCM programs in the right direction. But he said he is not optimistic about anti-mine projects getting more funding. "In the MCM arena, it often comes down to resources."