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Naval mine

Naval mines are anti-ship or anti-submarine weapons, which like landmines are static weapons deposited by a navy, left there to wait until they are triggered by the approach of an enemy ship. They are extremely effective weapons, having caused more damage to US Navy ships since World War II than any other weapon. Fourteen US Navy ships have been sunk or damaged by mines since 1945; in comparison, only four US warships have been damaged by air and missile attack.

Naval mines are often used to blockade ports.

More early history required.

Naval mines were used by both sides during the American Civil War. They were generally referred to as torpedoes at the time, hence Admiral David Farragut's famous quote.

Naval mines were used in World War II, notably by Germany in the Battle of the Atlantic. Triggered by magnetic sensors, they were initially successful until an exploded mine was seized, the workings deciphered and countermeasures to either explode all the mines in a wide area, or prevent ships from triggering them, were devised.

During the Gulf War, Iraqi naval mines severely damaged USS Princeton (CG-59) and USS Tripoli (LPH-10)[?].

The United States Navy MK56 ASW mine (the oldest still in use by the US) was developed in 1966. Since that time, more advances in technology have given way to the development of the MK60 CAPTOR (short for "encapsulated torpedo"), the MK62 and MK63 Quickstrike and the MK67 SLMM (Submarine Launched Mobile Mine). Most mines in the USN's arsenal today are delivered by aircraft to target.

Table of contents

MK67 SLMM Submarine Launched Mobile Mine

The SLMM was developed by the United States as a submarine deployed mine for use in areas inaccessible for other mine deployment techniques or for covert mining of hostile environments. The SLMM is a shallow water mine consisting basically of a modified MK37 torpedo.

General Characteristics

  • Type: Submarine laid bottom mine
  • Detection System: Magnetic/seismic or Magnetic/seismic/pressure target detection devices (TDDs)
  • Dimensions: 48.5×409 centimeters (19 inches×161 inches)
  • Depth Range: Shallow water
  • Weight: 754 kilograms (1658 pounds)
  • Explosives: 230 kilograms (510 pounds) high explosive
  • Date Deployed: 1987

MK65 Quickstrike

The Quickstike is a family of shallow water aircraft laid mines used by the United States primarily against surface craft. The MK65 is a 2,000 lb mine. Other Quickstrike versions (MK62, MK63, and MK64) are converted general purpose bombs of the 500 pound and 1000 pound sizes.

General Characteristics

  • Type: Aircraft laid bottom mine
  • Detection System: Magnetic/seismic/pressure target detection devices (TDDs)
  • Dimensions: 74×325 centimeters (29×128 inches)
  • Depth Range: Shallow water
  • Weight: 1086 kilograms (2390 pounds)
  • Explosives: Various loads
  • Date Deployed: 1983


The CAPTOR is the United States Navy's primary anti-submarine weapon. This deep water mine is designed to be laid by aircraft or submarine, and is anchored to the ocean floor. Upon detection of a hostile submarine, the CAPTOR launches a MK46 Mod 4 torpedo.

General Characteristics

  • Type: Aircraft, ship or submarine laid magnetically moored mine
  • Detection System: Reliable acoustic path (RAP) sound propagation

  • Dimensions:
    • Aircraft or Ship laid: 53×368 centimeters (21×145 inches)
    • Submarine laid: 53×335 centimeters (21×132 inches)
  • Depth Range: Deep water
  • Weight:
    • Air or Ship laid: 1077 kilograms (2370 pounds)
    • Submarine laid: 935 kilograms (2056 pounds)
  • Explosives: 44 kilograms (96 pounds) of PBXN-103 high explosive in a MK46 torpedo
  • Date Deployed: 1979


General Characteristics

  • Type: Aircraft laid moored mine
  • Detection System: Total field magnetic exploder
  • Dimensions: 57 centimeters×290 centimeters (22.4 inches×114.3 inches)
  • Depth Range: Moderate depths
  • Weight: 909 kilograms (2000 pounds)
  • Explosives: 164 kilograms (360 pounds) HBX-3
  • Date Deployed: 1966

See also: Minesweeper, mine.

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