Offensive Mining

Libya-Misrata-mine-discovered-by-Royal-Navy

In all our recent discussions and posts on mine countermeasures I have completely ignored the subject of offensive mining but the recent BALTOPS exercise included a demonstration by the USAF of offensive mining using their B-52’s and Mk 62 Quick Strike mines, loading only, no mines were actually droppped.

Mk 62 Quick Strike Mine

The Mk62 is part of the wider Quick Strike mine system that includes the larger Mk63 and Mk65. The system is very simple, take an existing bomb body (227kg, 454kg and 907kg respectively) and add on a tail fin that includes the appropriate pressure and magnetic sensors.

Simple, quick, easy.

Clever stuff.

The UK’s focus has been on mine countermeasures and although BAE produce the advanced Stonefish mine, none are in service with the RAF or RN.

Indeed, a 2002 Parliamentary Question confirmed the emptiness of the cupboard.

The Royal Navy has no specialist minelaying vessels although most vessels in the fleet, including submarines, could be adapted to lay mines if deemed necessary. The Royal Navy does not have any mine stocks and has not had since 1992. Notwithstanding this, the United Kingdom retains the capability to lay mines and continues research into mine exploitation. Practice mines, used for exercises, continue to be laid in order to retain the necessary skills

With a resurgent Russia, is offensive mining a capability gap that needs filling?

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