The current issue of Proceedings (May 2013, “U.S. Navy in Review, Truver and Holzer) contains a stunning revelation about the state of mine warfare, specifically mine countermeasures (MCM), in the fleet. Discussing the 2012 MCM exercise billed as the largest international MCM exercise ever conducted, IMCMEX 12, the article states that of the 29 simulated mines dropped in the water, only half or less were found.
I’m sorry, what was that? The largest international collection of MCM experts and equipment ever assembled, under relaxed peacetime conditions, and knowing exactly where to begin looking, couldn’t even find half the exercise mines??? That does not bode well for actual combat MCM operations.
Fortunately, the LCS and its MCM module will solve all the problems, right? By the way, the LCS and its MCM module were conspicuous by their absence from the exercise. What does that tell you about the mighty LCS and the spectacularly successful (according to the Navy’s press releases) MCM trials? I would have thought the Navy would have been chomping at the bit to let the LCS show off its MCM capability. Perhaps it’s not as successful as the press releases suggest?
Setting aside the LCS, the Navy is clearly behind the curve in mine warfare which is hard to understand since mines are the number one threat to the fleet. C’mon Navy, wake up and start focusing on mines.