Another problem we are having is that--up until you posted--the discussion was "confined" to specific equipment listed in the links provided. That equipment is mine clearing gear. You then introduced a hypothetical drone with a range of 1,000 miles to be used for recon. Lovely, but not part of the topic beforehand, so when you claim the gear won't be used to clear mines--when up to this point that is entirely all the gear under discussion is to be used for--it does not fit.
The drone gear listed in the article for the Japanese frigate is:
UUV (OZZ-5 by MHI) and USV (unknown type) for mine counter measures
Can't find a lot of info on the OZZ-5, but it comes in two sizes, the largest being 4 meters. That is slightly bigger than the Kingfish listed in use by ExMCM, and they are otherwise comparable. That has a max range of about 350 miles, and 285 with a payload. At 5 knots...
So, while not 1,000 miles, there is certainly some range to it. But, at about 5 knots (even 7 or 10 knots) it is not going to be very effective at ranging out ahead of a task force reconning for alternate routes.
The USV is unknown, but should not be much different than any of the others in use, such as the US CUSV, or RN ARCIMS.
All the gear "in discussion" was/is used for examining minefields, and clearing them, therefore. Including that listed for use on the Japanese frigate. So, it is not unreasonable to conclude the frigate will be used for clearing mine fields, not reconning all over the place...unless/until a drone with such abilities is announced by Japan, or any other navy.
Your topic is a fine potential future hypothetical. If, as, and when such drones become operational, I will be in happy agreement over at all. Until then, however, "we were talking about drone mine clearance," not recon drones ranging out all around the fleet.
As far as mobile mine fields, any links you can add to the discussion on those would be welcome. Would love to read more on those.
It is plainly written what you originally wrote, and that is why I reposted it. You simply wrote that you did not think the drones were expected to clear mines.
Now, you qualify the original remark with "if necessary," and protest you were mis-read.
While I did point to the LCS mine clearing equipment, you now redirect to the original Japanese frigate. Fine. Quotes from the article about that ship's mission:
"The Mk.45 is ideal for attacking enemies that have landed on the island. Also, in order to land friendly troops, it is necessary to sweep the mines laid by the enemy.In addition, laying mines to deter enemy landings is also useful."
And, from the list of equipment it will carry:
"UUV (OZZ-5 by MHI) and USV (unknown type) for mine counter measures"
Looks like it is going to be Japan's mine warfare ship in the future. Looks like it is expected that it, and its drones, are expected to clear mines. Obviously, no one is going to stop and fool with a mine field if they can avoid it. What if you can't avoid it? What if the beach you want to land on has mines in front of it, and is defended from shore? Looks just like what was said about the frigate.
If a US force is sailing along, and it encounters a field (that it can't avoid/go around/must get through) and a Burke is carrying an ExMCM unit (or it is being carried by several of the escorts) it can be deployed immediately. Then you would want to read Chris' remarks below about time.
So, your point was that the drones can be used to avoid minefields. Certainly. They are not always avoidable, and some that are well defended will need to be cleared. The frigate may have "better things to do," but one of the things it was specifically designed for was clearing defended minefields. I would then expect Japan will actually use them that way. Our destroyers also have better things to do than wait for mine clearing equipment when they have it embarked already.
Ralph your fascination with toys and defense articles written or heavily contributed to by defense contractors to create a utopian victory has been well documented numerous times. But you ignored the fact that time is needed to map or clear a minefield . Does not matter if you have the technology to do it but you need the time to do it as well as the numbers.
We are speaking about this fast moving multi-mission frigate and your example of a task force or group accompanied by a mine clearing ship. Are we not? You said any hull can now clear mines (true only to a degree) . I said ships like these would be probably be more used for minefield avoidance to save time and continue on with their mission. I said this is not the 20th century minefield anymore for they are defended in layers, can be offensive and technology is making them mobile. So I will stand by my quote because you misunderstood or purposely took it out of context. Unless absolutely critical only a knucklehead head would use his drones and ships to fight a battle over clearing a minefield when and if it can be avoided. Like purposely walking into an ambush you think you are going to win without loss.
No where did I say the frigate or the USN is incapable of clearing mines by any means just said it and itís drones probably will not be used in such manner if it can be avoided. You did say we experimented with our Burkes in same manner and dropped the idea.
I did say and think this a perfect fit of missions for LCS with her large mission bays and hangar to fight a long range battle of fighting over mine fields. Which I think you indicated someplace this where it is headed. Multi-mission warships have better things to do like fight other warships, sink submarines and put planes in the sea. So unlike LCS which can (and must) standoff and complete a mission, the design of this frigate and numbers building appear to suggest it is expected to be in the thick of the fight.
Last I heard Ralph both Congress and The Navy are still debating to gain understanding of safety and morality of using autonomous attack drones (which I donít understand for a torpedo and cruise missile are already attack drones) upon or below the seas. I am sure you will update me.
Quote: "I donít think it is expected of the drones to clear mines or attack."
Bill, you often leave me wondering what you read. In addition to the links I posted earlier on Royal Navy mine clearing drone development, and the drones used by the ExMCM units, here is the equipment in the LCS MCM Mission Package: https://www.navy.mil/Resources/Fact-Files/Display-FactFiles/Article/2167535/littoral-combat-ships-mine-countermeasures-mission-package/
All of it is devoted to finding and clearing mines, and Knifefish, the CUSV and Fire Scout are all drones...used for mine detecting/clearing. If you're so inclined you can look up each individual piece of equipment and see how it operates.
And yes...they all deploy from LCS, exactly as that platform was originally conceived to operate from the outset. 15 of the class will be our dedicated MCM vessels in the next several years. The Avengers are on their way out.
This is pay wall protected, but the paragraph you can read "says it all": https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/early-mcm-1-ship-decommissioning-partly-driven-limited-funding
What is the difference if the mine hunter is with a task group or has to come up just means less time lost but still lost.
As I am understanding under water robots can have a range of a 1000 miles or more. These ships labeled mine hunters are more than just that. They can launch their drones ahead of task force ( or meet up with ) to look for mines , diesel boats and surface targets giving the alert to alter course or start the hunt. I donít think it is expected of the drones to clear mines or attack.
Also minefields are changing from sit and wait to move and attack another reason for drones. But these ships are more than just mine hunters as are the future drones.
Now this is where LCS may come into play.
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.