By Carla Voorhees,
Defense Media Activity
This is the fifth in a series of 10 technologies integral to the United States military since World War I.
Naval mines are a mainstay of modern warfare, first used in World War I when mines laid by the U.S. Navy and Royal Navy helped inhibit the movement of German U-boats between Scotland and Norway. Mines were also laid throughout the western Pacific during WWII, and contributed to the sinking of many Japanese warships and merchant ships.
Minesweeping ships typically have minimal magnetic and acoustic signatures, and are built from wood or fiberglass to minimize the chance they will set off mines. Metal-hulled ships can also be degaussed to reduce the chances of setting off a magnetically triggered mine. Not only must these ships traverse mine-riddled waters, they must do so in a slow, straight line which leaves them vulnerable to enemy fire.
Today, minesweeping and mine countermeasures are very sophisticated. The Avenger class ships can find, classify and destroy moored and bottom mines using sonar and video systems, along with cable cutters and mine detonating devices. Mines, whether set fresh or left over from previous conflicts, are still a danger to our Navy’s fleet and minesweeping technology is critical to keeping our ships safe.