The littoral combat ship, already tapped as a worthy platform for numerous missions close to shore, also will make an ideal springboard for mine countermeasures operations.
Littoral combat ships (LCSs) with mine warfare mission packages have the potential to replace the U.S. Navy's legacy dedicated mine warfare force and fundamentally transform mine warfare. The Navy needs to refine concepts of operations, not only for the LCS in the mine countermeasures (MCM) role, but also for the future mine warfare organization that will train, equip, and command groups of these ships in combat operations.
More than 350,000 sea mines are estimated to be stockpiled around the world. Surf-zone mines, shallow-water mines, deep-water mines, moored mines, bottom mines, floating mines, rising mines, and mines deployed from unsophisticated or cleverly configured ships and barges (as evidenced during Operation Iraqi Freedom) are part of an array of threats. As the Navy and Marine Corps refine the concept of sea basing in support of joint forcible entry, littoral MCM capability will become increasingly important.
Employing Organic Mine Warfare Systems