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Re: Japanese built frigates also for mine countermeasures
To build off what you said Ralph, when ANY ship can have an MCM capability, adversaries may need to assume ALL ships have that capability. And given that mines are an area denial weapon, having ANY ship have an MCM capability lessens the impact on a forces ability to operate in those areas. If your goal in laying a minefield is to deny entry for 24 hours so you can mobilize your forces, and your enemy can accomplish their objectives in 6 hours because they donít need to wait for specialized ships, the minefield is didnít give you what you needed.
One of the reasons I brought up NetSat, even though its anti-mine capabilities were secondary, is you could put it on any ship and deploy it, even a civilian ship if so desired, just like what we are seeing with MCM. Having what amounts to bolt-on MCM and ASW capability will do nothing but improve a navies ability to operate in more areas with less need for specialized ships.
What "normally happens" is that a force is operating somewhere, and encounters a mine field. Specialist vessels then get brought up. Creates delay, messes up time tables, etc. With this new approach, a ship already on scene with the group can be used to make a path through the field (leaving more thorough field removal to the specialists when they come.)
Also, as Lars has pointed out, the old GRP hulled vessels were expensive to create (relative to their size) and steel hulled ships are less expensive, and therefore actually more plentiful. Did you read any of the links? Did you see where even auxiliaries can become mine warfare ships now? "Every ship" is now potentially also a mine clearing vessel, not just frontline warships. Again, as Lars posted, using frontline warships is only how some navies are approaching the problem. And--as pointed out already--those warships are far better able to protect their deployed drone forces, meaning they anticipate having to clear more fields which are defended. And any that are not, they can leave to an auxiliary.
So, it's not quite as you've put it.
only problem is that instead of mine warfare ships also being available for other uses, main frontline units which are way too few in number anyway will be required for mine hunting!
Very nice, thanks. Interesting indeed. Looks to be sort of a shallow water version of SOSUS. That's what I thought of first thing, anyway.
Good stuff, Lars and Ralph.
I saw an interesting video on MCM/ASW project the USN tested from the late-1990s that relied on remote sensing for MCM and ASW called DISTANT THUNDER.
This video was made by an ex-USN sonar guy who served on USN attach submarines and is very informative.
For sure, adding such drones on more versatile ships, avoids the costs of building specialized MCM ships.
There are currently three strategies in different navies:
a) adding MCM equipment to frigates (high-end warships, US and Japanese navy)
b) adding MCM equipment to OPV (low-end naval ships, see Australian navy, see also the Canadian Kingston class)
c) building specialized MCM ships (e.g. Belgian, Dutch, and Finnish navies, probably also the French)
For sure, a) and b) are cheaper than c) if considering the costs of the complete fleet. In case of war, a) can defend itself better than b) or c) and protect its drones used to hunt mines.
I do not think that the drones are the new aspect. They exist for some time - for sure, they are getting better. The new aspect is the building of multi-purpose ships, which include also MCM as one of their functions. E.g. the use of specialized mine-hunting sonar in a multi-purpose frigate.
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