Don’t Kill the Navy Mine Countermeasures Triad

The U.S. Navy is developing a new mine countermeasures (MCM) master plan to transition from its existing legacy MCM triad forces to a series of new systems for the mine-clearance mission. To be sure, the Navy is introducing promising new capabilities such as the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System, Airborne Mine Neutralization System, a variety of unmanned surface vehicles, and the Knifefish unmanned undersea vehicle. The main argument supporting this transition is that replacing legacy systems should not involve a “one-for-one” replacement because with the newer systems the Navy can approach the mine-clearance mission in a more innovative fashion. [1] This evolution clears the way to decommission current surface and airborne mine countermeasures systems. Yet in doing this too quickly, the Navy will be left with serious MCM capability gaps that could take years to close.

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