resource sponsors in OPNAV [Office of the Chief of
Naval Operations] as well as TYCOMs [type com-manders] and the fleets — to ensure the fleet is fully
prepared to optimally employ those technologies.
What are some of the sensor and weapons
systems used in the fleet or soon to be used
to counter mines?
ALLEN: Let’s also include in this discussion the full
triad of mine countermeasures — air, surface, subsurface, which incorporates explosive ordnance disposal
[EOD] forces as well. They train to the MCM mission.
They’re a very important part of the triad.
Right now, we have the Avenger-class [MCM 1] sur-
face mine sweepers, MH- 53 helicopters and unmanned
underwater vehicles (USVs). We have made a significant
investment in resources in keeping those legacy systems
capable and able to continue their deployment for sever-
al years into the future. This investment has paid off in
terms of performance, operational availability and, as we
sundown the ships and the H-53s, we’re going to be tran-
sitioning to the LCS [littoral combat ship] in that mine
countermeasures triad that changes the nature of that
Along with the LCS mission packages, we’re investing
in unmanned air, surface and underwater vehicles that
are designed to detect, identify and neutralize with a single pass. Some technology prototypes currently fielded
include the Mine-Hunting USV (MHU), an 11-meter RIB
[rigid inflatable boat] that is able to drag a towed body
and also several variants of the Mk18 UUV.
How do you think the LCS, with its MCM mis-
sion package, will make a difference in how
the fleet conducts mine coun-
ALLEN: We’re looking forward to
the LCS MCM mission package
fully coming on line. We are conducting the operational evaluation
this summer and, based on our
observations so far, the mission
package does bring a significant
increase for search capability and
capacity. The ability to conduct
sustained MCM search with the
Remote Mine Hunting System
while simultaneously conducting
neutralization with the MH-60S
brings increased capacity.
Also, like a lot of weapons systems, ships, aircraft that we develop, the LCS mission package
allows us to spiral in new technology as we move forward to respond
to changing threats and new technology with follow-on variants.
The Knifefish UUV is a good example of spiraling in new technology.
As we bring on new technology,
we can insert that into the new triad
very quickly and easily. I just saw
some photos of an EOD team that
took a Mk18 Mod 1 and air-dropped
it and parachuted afterwards. They
inflated the combat rubber raiding
craft and had the little fish [Mk18]
swimming within a couple of hours
of launch. To me, that represents a
technology and a capability that is
worldwide. It’s pretty exciting.
While serving as Exercise Valiant Shield Director, RDML Russell Allen answers
questions in Yigo, Guam, Sept. 15 during a media round table. Valiant Shield is
a training exercise focused on integration and proficiency of the U.S. Army,
Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps through engaging units at sea. Allen served
as deputy commander of U.S. Seventh Fleet until February.