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USN Sending Four More Minesweepers to the Gulf

by John Reed on March 16, 2012

It’s not quite a surge but the Navy is doubling the number of minesweepers in the Persian Gulf, Stars and Stripes reported today.

Yup, the sea service is sending the Sentry, Pioneer, Devastator and Warrior mine countermeasures boats to the Gulf in order to “do better setting the theater. I wanted to be sure … that we are ready,” Stripes quoted CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert as saying recently.

Still, he wouldn’t call this a surge of forces, it’s just a deployment, just to be ready.

Speaking of anti-mine ships bound for the Gulf, remember this?

Via BI

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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

blight_ March 16, 2012 at 11:40 am

Considering how few MCM boats we have, this means a very large percentage of our anti-mine assets are en route to the Mideast. Hmm…


Tony Campbell March 22, 2012 at 2:19 am

Just to get it straight, The USS Avenger is a SHIP of the US fleet, not a boat.


guess March 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

Every ship can be a mine sweeper once


Lance March 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

You got it LOL ;)


USSHelm March 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Three guesses why.


Musson March 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm

If the Iranians were smart – they would drop a few mines off New York City. It only takes a small boat or disguised freighter.

But then – the Iranians have never impressed me as smart.


blight_ March 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm

That assumes they want to engage in warfare with the United States: they probably don't. They're the only Shia state, out of a number of Sunni states with axes to grind.


kwi sandflea March 20, 2012 at 8:57 am

u really think they arnt smart?
they raised the price of oil and made billions by threating to close the straits- didnt even has to spend the price od a postage stamp
pretty clever


Lance March 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Maybe something going to happen to the stinking Iranians soon so they keep the Straight open for tankers after the Iranian bomb plants go bye bye. LOL


JOhn Moore March 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Who is paying for the shipment because I read they are being transported over on a transport ship and not sailing under there own power.

So is it the USA that again has to pay to protect the world?


passingby March 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm

For your information, none of the US operations in the Middle East have been carried out to protect the world or even the US. They have mostly been planned by, and for, the Big Oil, the Financial Interests of London & New York, and the US military industrial complex.


Bill March 17, 2012 at 11:23 am

Passingby, changing the world 1 post at a time… albeit not the best choice of a website, but hey, everybody loves conspiracy theories.


crackedlenses March 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Communism, Nazism, despotism, and Islamic fascism all disagree with you….


Sgt. Buffy March 20, 2012 at 9:04 am

Deja Vu?


Skyepapa March 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

More like the world benefits when the USA looks out for its own interests.


asdf March 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm

yeah, especially from the more expensive petrol…


blight_ March 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm

How so? Before 2003, the oil supply of Iraq was limited to Oil for Food output. Afghanistan has no oil.

The rest of the damage is wells depleting since oil out of the ground is not renewable. Peak oil and speculation does more than GWOT ever did…


RCDC March 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm

If there is a conflict with Iran, what is we need are missile boats, Mack V boats and a lot of inland MLRS. About 300 unit minimum for defense.


Nick March 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Can I just say that two of those ships have names that better befit a battleship. Devastator? Warrior? And you look for mines? Was someone drunk when they named you? It is the navy…


blight_ March 16, 2012 at 7:26 pm

We're busy naming ships for politicians. Have a good day.


TLAM Strike March 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Mine warfare ships are traditionally named for either birds or traits.

The Avengers were named for traits.

The USN has been doing it since WWII and the Adroit class.


T.Miller March 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I was stationed on the Devastator. Its a dam good ship!
The M.C.M. Class ship has the least amount of armor and a small
Crew. We all know each others family from the Captain on down.
These crews are clearing the path for the battle group.
It takes guts to do that Bro.


B33TLE March 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I helped build MCMs during Naval Reserve stints in Sturgeon Bay WI in the early 1990s. Very expensive, because all of the metal (as much as possible) has to be non-magnetic. This results in some costly alloys. I did builder's trials on Devastator (yes, it's somewhat a pretentious name, but it's a fitting name for a next-generation minesweeper.


Gary Guymon March 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm

I spent 3 years on a MSO, USS Ability MSO 519. They had names like Adroit, Salute, Notable,etc. The MSC were named for birds like Bluebird. "Where the fleet goes we have been"


blight_ March 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Where are those magic LCS minesweeping modules? If we're already cranking out LCS while we still are unable to pick a class, we might as well drop in those modules and send them along for mineclearing duty.

Oh wait, "the modules aren't ready yet". And if modules never get ready, what did we buy them for?


Jeff March 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Technically the LCS aren't ready yet… LCS-1 is in drydock to fix flooding problems, LCS-2 is dealing with the galvanic corrosion… while no other LCS ships have even been completed. Neither have completed shake down. All this makes the non-existience the LCS mission modules moot.

Also when it comes to the mission modules, there is a very simple rationale for why they haven't been built, had they been built on schedule, they'd have been obsolete by the time the ships came into service. People complain about the lack of modules, but if the modules existed, they'd be 2003 technology sitting in a warehouse becoming outdated by the minute, and a decade old by the time they were loaded on an LCS.


blight_ March 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm

True; but everything in the military is legacy equipment to some degree. And simply not making technological progress because it'll be too old once its platform is ready is a little strange.

Or worse, a congress decides to cut your module programs to save money, and then you have a module-less LCS.

In any case, "modules" are actually just a container containing the electronics, which could easily be ported from present day surface warfare systems; or LCS systems that could be ported to current surface warfare systems, but sacrificing plug and play capability.


TLAM Strike March 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Hay, defense tech way are my comments being automatically deleted? I've done nothing wrong.


Kski March 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Gearing up for war with Iran. We settle a old score and the Arabs get their pockets filled with en flatted oil money. So start making bets boys on when Iran decides to launch a nuke or drive over the Iraqi border. Will win the conventional war. But I suggest to all to read Kenneth M. Pollack's Arabs at War, you will be enlightened on Arab military effectiveness.


MGC March 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Iranians ain't Arabs partner even if their alphabet is.


rod March 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Even their alphabets aren't.


RCDC March 17, 2012 at 7:13 am

We may need missile boats, Mack V boats for defense if a conflict with Iran materializes.


blight_ March 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Mk V boats aren't great coastal defense boats. Perhaps our PC boats…?


leesea March 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Mk V SOC are NSW fast transports. Navy sees RCB as force protection boats. Not many inshore warboats in USN today.

Cyclone PCs are getting sevreal mods to keep them dragging on for more years (Navy should have replaced them already~)


blight_ March 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Thought they were dumping them for good and simply not replacing them.

Even the USCG's PC-analogs have had problems: the lengthening program did not pan out.

Perhaps Navy/Coast Guard can think of something that both services can use?


tiger March 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm
blight_ March 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm


"The Navy has found “significant structural damage” to the PC fleet, and “all vessels have experienced frame buckling and damage to the hull. Corrosion is also evident,” said an announcement by Chris Johnson, a spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command."

I haven't seen any blurbs about someone winning a contract to repair or some sort of SLEP regarding the Cyclones, but they don't exactly make headlines.


FormerDirtDart March 18, 2012 at 8:11 pm

This article references the Cyclones in Bahrain, so I guess they're still out there working. (6th para) http://defense.aol.com/2012/03/16/cno-downplays-g

FormerDirtDart March 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Unfortunately. I think the USCG's Offshore Patrol Cutter is to far along in planning, and on the verge of dying, for the Navy to join in. Last thing the Navy wants is to get involved in another program that's circling the drain.
Sad thing is, if the Navy had been involved with the OPC, its possible the RHIB rear launch ramp would still be in the design.


leesea March 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

USN is slapping hull stiffeners on the Cyclones, adding weapons and sensors and decaring them "good" for another 5 years or so. I got some sources you don't.

I note that COMDT CG decommissioned streched 110s when they had similar problems


Hickelbilly March 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Get out of the forest and look at a few trees. One is that the President of Iran is just puppet for the wealthy religious leaders. Two, We just think they want to cut off oil to US, but the real goal is to weaken thier neighbors and dominate them. The blame going to bad old non-muslims in America. Three, the general population of many Muslim countries are tired of doing without so thier leaders can play God.


orly? March 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Ahem, use USVs.


blight_ March 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm

If we have any, they're likely to be prototypes and such.


orly? March 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Last I heard, Singapore's been using Protectors for awhile.


blight_ March 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm


Fair enough, but doesn't look like they do MCM stuff. Protectors might be interesting for vessels with ramps…send an RHIB with protectors as backup?


TLAM Strike March 19, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Or in a museum, they used drone mine sweepers on the Mekong back in the Vietnam War.

There are a few photos of them here: http://www.warboats.org/StonerBWN/The%20Brown%20W

along with other strange contraptions.


blight_ March 19, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Ooh, a Brown Water Navy list. Pity that stuff's all gone and long forgotten.

"Above: The MSR (Minesweeper, River) was a conversion of the standard ASPB. These were used as a command and control boat for the MSD (Minesweeping Drone). The MSD was a 23-foot remote-controlled minesweeping boat powered by a 327 Chevrolet gasoline engine. The MSR differed from the standard ASPB by the addition of specialist minesweeping gear and electronics. Also the upper 20mm turret was replaced by two 7.62mm machine guns. Mine Division 113 of Mine Squadron 11 used the MSR boats. This boat is MSR-7. [Photo: Jack T. Walker]

Below: Three MSDs of Mine Division 113. The MSD was designed to sweep different types of river mines and not put a crew at risk. It was designed to be run remotely from a control boat and was considered expendable. The MSD was also capable of manual operation. [Photo: Tom Lefavour]"

Probably radio-operated, short range. Not sure how it'll do in the Gulf but it's worth a shot.


Old Navy March 19, 2012 at 10:28 am

So instead of BenObama asking where are the carriers he can ask "where are the LCS's" I thought they would be ideal for this type of situation. Of course none of their modules are ready but arm them with a bunch of 20mm and 50cal weapons and send them into harms way. Worked in the last great war WW2. If the Iranian's want to use there mini speed boats as Kamikaze's OK. The LCS's could function like the DD's and DE's radar pickets stationed around the fleet at Okinawa. Builds character and provides damage control training.


blight_ March 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I think you're giving the PTs exaggerated credit. Submarines destroyed more Marus, especially at sea compared to the comparatively close-range action of PT boats, which had similarly dud torpedoes early in the war.

I think we should develop a Missile Boat Destroyer type of ship…just as the "Destroyer" initially was a Torpedo Boat Destroyer.


TLAM Strike March 19, 2012 at 11:54 pm

I agree the PT boat was generally not very effective. In fact in the entire history of the PT boat they accomplished their primary mission (sinking enemy capital ships) only once… in World War One.

We already have a very effective Missile Boat Destroyer: aircraft. PTGs have very little in AA weapons besides a flak gun or a MANPAD.


blight_ March 20, 2012 at 1:05 am

My problem with that is that our only case study for using aircraft to destroy small boats is Praying Mantis. It was pretty decisive, but it's just one situation.

Alternatively, that means that modern missile boats are too small, and need to mount enough defensive/offensive weaponry to take down aircraft at the range of their anti-ship missiles. This might point to something LCS or Visby-sized as missile platforms, instead of tiny boats with outsized missiles and insufficient radar/fire control systems.


TLAM Strike March 20, 2012 at 9:10 am

2nd datapoint: The Battle of Bubiyan, 3rd Air/Sea component of the Battle of Khafji, 4th Operation Morvarid.

The Visby class is a good example of what a ship needs to have to survive the modern battlefield. Of course the Visby is a corvette!

FormerDirtDart March 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Begs the question: do your sources know it Navy has at least started process to consider replacements for the Cyclones? And, of course I mean something more substantial than a few people exchanging emails stating that it might be time to look at replacing them.


guess March 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I doubt it
Big navy never really liked the PC
Not enough officer slots I guess lol
If I remember correctly the hull life was only good for 15 years or so
lol and I think that sadly the LCS might technically be a replacement


blight_ March 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm

The LCS is much larger and was meant to be much more capable.

The PC's fill a much smaller niche which might someday be superseded by teleoperated ships.


tiger March 20, 2012 at 12:20 am

The USN 's history in small vessel construction has sucked as far back as WW1. Every program has been rushed, haphazard, or just experiments in spending. First it was the battleship guys. Then the Carrier guys took over the Navy. Even the brown water program was really kept up like it should have. THe Navy should have gone to Europe and bought Corvettes & FAC's from people who know how to build them.


blight_ March 20, 2012 at 12:50 am

Weirdly enough, we're building Egypt's next fast attack craft. I imagine it's only because our military aid comes with a stipulation to spend money in America.

leesea March 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm

As far as I can determine there is NO replacement for PC programmed within this FYDP? Whether any Navy office is doing any work on that is not known. And since there are so many good designs US and foreign, one could almost do an OTS purchase, bu of course NAVSEA would screw that up too?


Mike March 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm

A quick point: there was, indeed, mine warfare in the Vietnam War. We used it to quite good effect in 1972, mining Haiphong Harbor. It was so effective that the North Vietnamese negotiatiors made it a specific point in the 1973 Peace Treaty for us to sweep our mines from Haiphong Harbor. My ship, USS New Orleans (LPH-11), along with a host of other ships in Task Force 78, spent 56 days in what was optimistically called "the swept portion of the minefield", performing what is now called "mine countermeasures".


robertro2 March 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

with all our technolgy we still have to send in a ship to do this job,why not our satellite looking down to pick them out with infrared,a remote under water device to trip them by sound or vibration there has to be something to do this job to make it safe for our navy…..


Sweep sailor March 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I was on the USS Skill, alongside the Agile, Bulwark, Sagacity all good names as well as those above mentioned. That duty is extremely dangerous and it my hope the technology is even better than 1968's. Expello periculum


Harold Erb April 1, 2012 at 10:04 am

I agree with you. I was on the Sagacity 59-62 and the Bulwark 63-68 and between the two made three Med cruises under our own power. Even during peace time(cold war) the duty was not a piece of cake.. Minesweeps took up almost 8 years of my 20 that I was in. I went from an ICFN to IC1 while on the two. Retired Chief ICman.


Sandcrab March 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

We built MHC's for mine hunting so where are the MHC's. Did some one in Washington sell them to another country already? Just like Washington to do such a thing.


USS Warrior Sailor March 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Yes they have been decommed and sold to 3rd world contries. they are useless just like the MCM's


oldcrusty March 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I was on the old MSO's Conquest, Esteem, and Enhance back in 89 during the Iran/Iraq war, sweeping mines and keeping the shipping lanes open, same mission different times. 20 years from now same mission different class of ship.


B33TLE March 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Conquest, Esteem and Enhance – three ships from my past! I worked for SUPSHIP Seattle as an electrical ship surveyor in those days; the ships were reserve training platforms in Seattle, Everett and Tacoma WA.


augoldminer September 19, 2014 at 4:09 am

I served on the USS Enhance during Operation Endsweep. back in 1973.
was there during the fire.

Wooden Ships and Rusty Crusty Old Iron Men.


USS Warrior Sailor March 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I served in The USS Warrior and USS Pioneer ( Will not tell which Crew…) even when they are still stationed in Texas now in San Diego , we crew swap every 6 to 8 months lived on those damn ships which needs to be mothballed due to allot of issues plumbing , mechanical most of the time. we spend alot of Tax Payers $$$ to maintain this ships ( I'ved seen it myself Due to Bleeeep can't tell!!) to show US forces in the gulf . This ships are a drain in the funding resources due to their minimal use and out dated equipments. but again this added ships will show added force and presence in the middle east.


blight_ March 22, 2012 at 8:12 am

I'd heard about it anecdotally, and the rumor is that MCM has been short end of stick for decades. New MCM ships may be called for, but the navy has assumed for decades that they could bombard from afar while the dolphins and handlers could demine.


EMCS March 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I worked on those MCM"s in Texas, they stayed broke alot, italian engines pure junk. and as last time, there will be no fancy sweeping. just ride around , find a floating mine (which is what was put out, not magnetic or smart mines) then either shoot it or small boat over and place demo. charge on it……in other words, any ship can do that. But they can say, Hey, we have our fancy new minesweeps over there. the guy was right about the crews, they will have to rotate out often….


MCM sailor March 31, 2012 at 11:37 am

Senior, i dont know how long you have been away from the MCM fleet, but you are completely wrong. there is a strong push on a new training cycle pushing sweeping hunting and nuetralizing. and some new influence sweep gear. we will do our job. and we will do it better than anyone else…..my wake your path.


MCM sailor March 31, 2012 at 11:39 am

and with the best engineering department in the navy we NEVER stay broke. we spend more time underway than any other MCM and more than alot of the "big navy"


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Tim March 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I'm sure the Soviets once thought about doing it. So did the Cubans. May be even the North Koreans… But none did.


AlC March 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Only be worth doing if they could use a nuclear mine. Otherwise the damage caused would not be worth the beating they'd get.


blight_ March 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Before 9/11 nobody thought of using airplanes as flying missiles. It wasn't a mental deficiency that prevented people from doing so.


PolicyWonk March 19, 2012 at 7:33 am

Mental deficiencies? They sure outsmarted the Bush Administration for 7+ years, and aren't stupid enough to engage the US directly/overtly. And BTW – One of the Bush Administrations biggest "witness"/"testifiers" w/r/t how welcoming the Iraqi people would be to US forces (and all of Saddam's weapons programs that didn't exist) came from Ahmed Chalabai – an Iranian Spy (i.e. fed the Bush Administration a TON of bogus "information" that they were only too happy to accept).

Hence – Iran got the US to take out their biggest enemy for them, knowning we'd eventually have to leave.

Pretty dumb, huh? Why do you think all the former POTUS, Secs of State, Natl. Security Advistors, CENTCOM commanders, etc, advised against invading Iraq?


blackphoenixillustrations March 17, 2012 at 12:06 am

Executive Decision, 1996, starring Kurt Russell and Steven Seagal. Even Hollywood thought of it.


FormerDirtDart March 17, 2012 at 10:50 am

Debt of Honor, 1994, Tom Clancy


blight_ March 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Indeed. In the old days, we anticipated mine warfare in Vietnam, North Korea or China. However, the PRC has grown up and can rely on more sophisticated weapons; Vietnam is no longer an enemy and the ROKN can take care of the mines for us; we'll stand off and drop cruise missiles.


blight_ March 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Didn't watch either. Think I was a little young for them at the time…


FormerDirtDart March 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Debt of Honor is a book


blight_ March 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Ryanverse, I see. I never finished the Ryanverse series. I started from Without Remorse and stopped at Clear and Present Danger.

Though I actually picked up Rainbow Six first. I thought it jumped the shark when he started moving quickly up the food chain.


blight_ March 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm

"…"If we're able to get the maintenance done, the funding approved, and the installations [of the weapons completed], the goal would be to get three by the end of the year, '12, and two by the end of '13," Greenert said."

Clearly the maint issue sounds like it's a serious consideration. It even comes before the hypothetical weapons upgrades.


TLAM Strike March 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm

In July of 1984 the Libyans mined the Suez Canal and Red Sea prompting a NATO and WP minesweeping operation.


TLAM Strike March 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm

In April of 2004 a home built mine was found on Lake Pontchartrain. Presidential candidate John Kerry was scheduled to be on the lake as part of his campaign.


TLAM Strike March 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm

And there was the January 1980 "Patriotic Scuba Diver" incident.


TLAM Strike March 18, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I wrote a longer post on that but DefenseTech seems to censor me when I post it.

WTF? This isn't OPSEC!


blight_ March 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm


The “Patriotic SCUBA Diver” crisis, January 1980
? Phone call from “Patriotic SCUBA Diver” claimed
to have placed a mine in the Sacramento River
? “Terrorist” threat stopped all shipping
? Required four days of mine hunting by USS Gallant
(MSO-489) to determine the channel was safe: Hoax!
? Economic impact of just merchant vessel “lay-days”
estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars


FormerDirtDart March 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm

You're not being censored. Your long comments are likely being timed out as you write them. And, if you re-post similar comments, the program rejects them.


RCDC March 19, 2012 at 4:37 am

Just to recap Iran have 20 missile ships and 100 small fast craft missile boats not to mention their mine drone boats. They also have modern inland cruise missiles.


TLAM Strike March 19, 2012 at 9:27 am

Can't be PolicyWonk and melcyna both posted longer posts. My "large" post was only 480 characters. I copies my post to a text file and reposted it and it got rejected. This is not the first time DT has done this to me.


blight_ March 19, 2012 at 9:58 am

Chalabi promised us a welcome in open arms. Then there was that clandestine chemical engineer who sold us a bad bill of goods.

Edit: Ah, Curveball. That's his name.


TLAM Strike March 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I got an email from DT explaining they are having sporadic sync issues between the website and the DB they use for comments.

Sorry if I overreacted.


blight_ March 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Indeed. Thanks TLAM for the link…though I'd seen sites going over riverine forces, I didn't think they had deployed drones for this work.


blight_ March 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Well, paper Visby at least. Visby has had its own delays…possibly related to the use of composites, or just low observable considerations in general.

I think the export LCS the vendors are planning to sell might be an option for us as well, especially if we just need a more practical fighting boat, instead of just the Swiss Army Knife vanilla LCS.


PolicyWonk March 20, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Indeed, you are correct. The Iranians got the gold mine – the USA got the shaft!


orly? March 21, 2012 at 10:47 am

Also interesting, I now see I've lived on a berthing ship that's been to Vietnam.


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