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Surface Forces: Naval Mines Eat Laser And Die
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March 16, 2009: For a decade, the U.S. Navy has been working on RAMICS (Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System), for destroying moored or floating mines that are close to the surface. Until recently, they could not get the system to work as well as it should have (on paper). That changed when some software tweaks, a larger caliber gun, and a special shell design, were added to the mix.

The original idea was for SH-60 helicopter, armed with a 20mm cannon, would fire a shell into a mine submerged up to 40 feet underwater. When the projectile penetrates the mine, it releases chemicals that cause the mine to explode. The exact location of the mine is determined via ALMDS (Airborne Laser Mine-Detection System). This is a laser mounted on the same helicopter, that can penetrate the water to about 40 feet, and produces a video image that is sent back to a nearby ship for real-time analysis. If a mine is discovered, RAMCIS is used to destroy it.

Early on, there were doubts that the 20mm shells could penetrate that much water, and still have enough energy left to penetrate the mine casing. One option was to us use a 30mm cannon instead, but if was feared that the larger caliber cannon would cause more vibration than the helicopter could handle. The solution was found in having the cannon fire one shell at a time, and use a special shell design that penetrated the water without losing so much energy. Software improvements made the 30mm MK44 Bushmaster II cannon much more accurate. In recent tests, seven of eight shots hit the underwater mine.

The helicopter, equipped with the RAMICS/ALMDS gear will equip LCS ships, or any other ship with a helicopter pad. The navy is also looking into using unmanned helicopters for the job, as it mainly consists of flying a pattern until a mine is found. If no mines are found, the area is declared free of surface mines.

The more dangerous bottom mines (which lie on the bottom of shallow coastal waters) require other tools to find and destroy them. Many areas along the coast are too deep for the bottom mines (which are ineffective in waters more than 80 feet deep).

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gf0012-aust       3/16/2009 6:44:16 AM
Incorrect re RAMICs not working.  The original design of RAMICs worked perfectly.  It was achieving one shot one kill to a proscribed target depth with full rod penetration thus simulating the kill.

It stuffed up because US Navy in their wisdom tried another beltway contractor who tried to improve (some would say "'stole") the IP.  They screwed it up completely by trying a larger calibre.  The smaller worked fine and  did as designed.

Whats even more distressing is that the bloke who originally did the development was screwed by the very Govt org he was trying to help.  In Govt we refer to people who treat other people like that as arseholes.    In the private sector we refer to people who treat other people like that as arseholes, they tend to call themselves innovators (when it works).  

This very same gent is now involved with other cavitating weapons and last I heard was involved with some elements of the hypersonic missile program space related weapons for another agency (in a different climate).  

The USN should be ashamed of itself.   They've shabbily treated a decent man who had his countries interests first and foremost.
 
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HERALD1357    Way to go, NAVY!   3/16/2009 7:37:58 AM
Bliss Leavitt Court Case and the Mark XIV torpedo LESSSON, all over again.

We never LEARN.
 
Herald
 
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aki009       3/17/2009 11:59:47 AM

Bliss Leavitt Court Case and the Mark XIV torpedo LESSSON, all over again.

We never LEARN.

Herald


While all services have this same issue from time to time, it seems to me that the Navy screws up more than the rest. It must be an overdose of salty air, or perhaps lack of it when commanding a desk in a stuffy room in that 5-sided building.
 
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