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AN/SLQ-48


Introduction from the Federation of American Scientists: AN/SLQ-48 - Mine Neutralization Vehicle.

To identify and neutralize mines, the MCM 1 and MHC 51 Classes utilize the AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization System, developed by Alliant Techsystems, which is the main battery of both classes of ships. The AN/SLQ-48 system uses a remote-controlled submersible vehicle to identify underwater objects and, if they are mines, render them safe. The prime feature is the 2700 pound, tethered, TV and sonar-equipped Mine Neutralization Vehicle (MNV), which places an explosive destructive charge on bottom mines, and cuts the cables of moored mines. The AN/SLQ-48 is not well suited to the neutralization of shallow-water mines. The vehicle tends to be underpowered and may leave on the bottom a mine that looks like a mine to any subsequent sonar search and an explosive charge subject to later detonation under proper impact conditions.

The MCM 1 class holds two AN/SLQ-48 vehicles onboard to counter the threat of mines. The main difference between the installation on the two classes is the vehicle launch/recovery system. The MCM Class has a burtoning (yard and stay) rig, starboard, amidships, while the MHC 51 uses an articulated crane on the fantail.

The mine neutralization vehicle is a self-propelled remote-controlled submarine. The vehicle's low acoustic and magnetic signature make it virtually invisible to even the most modern sea mines. The Mine Neutralization Vehicle is the primary subsystem of the Navy's Mine Neutralization System (MNS). The vehicle has a long body and is powered by a central electrohydraulic system which drives its thrusters. The streamlined external fairing is of fiberglass, and buoyancy is provided by syntactic foam. The sensor package consists of a mine-hunting sonar and two television cameras. In addition to the vehicle, MNS consists of an Umbilical Cable Handling System (UCHS), Vehicle Handling System (VHS), shipboard power supply, and associated control consoles. All these components were developed by SSC San Diego. The system works in conjunction with a shipboard mine hunting sonar and precise inertial navigation system.

Electrical power and data are transmitted via a neutrally-buoyant, 3,500 foot long umbilical cable. If the umbilical cable separates, the vehicle automatically returns to the surface and activates its responder and flasher. The cable is handled by the Umbilical Cable Handling System, which utilizes a winch designed to pay out and take up cable while maintaining a constant cable tension. The vehicle is powered by a 2,500V transformer, which is located in the UCHS room. The vehicle moves underwater by way of its four thrusters, located on the aft and mid part of the fuselage. One thruster provides vertical momentum, one provides sideways momentum, while the other two propel the vehicle forward. Navigation and minehunting are facilitated by two video cameras, fore and aft, a sonar dome, and several powerful lamps.

The vehicle's mission packages are all located forward. The MNS presently carries two mission packages -- one to cut the mooring cable of moored mines, allowing them to rise to the surface for subsequent neutralization or recovery/exploitation (MP-1) and one to destroy bottom mines by placing an explosive charge near the mine (MP-2). A new mission package, MP-3, to destroy moored mines in-place recently successfully completed its Follow-On Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E). The FOT&E report was approved and signed by COMOPTEVFOR on 4 November 96 and stated that MP-3 was "operationally effective and suitable," and recommended it for Fleet introduction.

While in operation, the minehunting sonar makes initial contact with the target mine. The Mine Neutralization Vehicle is deployed using the vehicle handling system to visually identify objects under the water. Using the control console located in the ship's Combat Information Center, the vehicle's pilot can guide the vehicle under the water towards the target. The MNV, powered through an umbilical cable from the ship, is given a vector to the target by ship sonar information. The operator flies the MNV based on the vehicle sonar and/or TV information. The MNV is flown by the operator toward the target using an installed tracking system until the vehicle¹s own sensors acquire the target. Once within range, the vehicle sends back a real-time video image of the object. If the object is identified as a mine, the vehicle can deploy an explosive charge on the bottom mine, or the explosive cutter on the mooring cable of the moored mine. Once the explosive is in place, the MNV is returned to the ship, and the explosive device is actuated by a coded acoustic signal broadcast by the she ship's hydrophone. The system was developed by Honeywell for the US Navy.

The Mine Neutralization System (MNS) and the minehunting sonar constitute the main difference between WWII and modern day mine countermeasures. WWII mine countermeasures emphasized minesweeping, emphasis today tends toward minehunting and neutralization due to the complexity of some modern influence mines, which make sweeping extremely difficult. There are ocean areas where rocks and other bottom clutter make minehunting ineffective so ships need both minesweeping and minehunting capability. The effectiveness of these tools has been proven again and again in both practice and actual minehunting missions.
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AN/SLQ-48201kSailors aboard the mine countermeasures ship Champion (MCM 4) prepare to lower the AN/SLQ-48 “Mine Neutralization Vehicle” into the water, 22 July 2002. The remotely operated vehicle uses sonar and video cameras to find and identify underwater objects. If the operators find a mine, the vehicle can place small explosive charges near the mine to neutralize it. Champion is participating in Gulf of Mexico Exercise 02-2 near Corpus Christi, TX. During the exercise, Champion was tasked with searching for and clearing exercise “mines” from critical waterways in the area. USN photo N-5745B-002 by Lieutenant Marc Boyd. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-48224kSailors aboard the mine countermeasures ship Champion (MCM 4) prepare to lower the AN/SLQ-48 “Mine Neutralization Vehicle” into the water, 22 July 2002. USN photo N-5745B-003 by Lieutenant Marc Boyd. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-48143kAn AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralizer is hoisted over the side of Pioneer (MCM 9) 10 December 2002 for a planned mine sweeping exercise off San Clemente Island. Pioneer is homeported in Ingleside, Texas and is currently conducting exercises near San Diego, Calif. USN photo N-8029P-012 by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Ramon Preciado. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-48118kAn AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralizer is hoisted over the side of Pioneer (MCM 9) 10 December 2002 for a planned mine sweeping exercise off San Clemente Island.USN photo N-8029P-018 by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Ramon Preciado. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-4877kMineman 2nd Class Mario Adame from Tucson, Ariz., is an instructor aboard the Mine Warfare Training Center at Naval Station Ingleside, Texas, 15 April 2003. Petty Officer Adame trains students on the operation and maintenance of the AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization System. Petty Officer Adame is shown here demonstrating a repair on the umbilical cable. The remotely operated submersible is used to detect and neutralize mines in waters up to 2000 feetUSN photo N-5862D-048 by Chief Photographer's Mate Chris Desmond. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-48161kMineman 1st Class Jayson Calton, from Booneville, Miss., prepares to lower the AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization system in the training pool at the Mine Warfare Training Center at Naval Station Ingleside, Texas, 16 April 2003. Students get the experience operating the remotely operated submersible during their course of instruction. The remotely operated submersible is used to detect and neutralize mines in waters up to 2000 feet.USN photo N-5862D-129 by Chief Photographer's Mate Chris Desmond. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-48188k Mineman 2nd Class Christine Beal, from Franklin, Maine and her instructor Mineman 2nd Class Mario Adame observe the AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization system submerge in the training pool at the Mine Warfare Training Center at Naval Station Ingleside, Texas, April 16, 2003. Students get the experience operating the remotely operated submersible during their course of instruction. Beal will report aboard the Kingfisher (MHC 57) after completing this advanced training on the two-million-dollar system.USN photo N-5862D-154 by Chief Photographer's Mate Chris Desmond. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-4864kMineman 2nd Class Christine Beal, from Franklin, Maine, guides the AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization system into it's cradle after a short dive in the training pool at the Mine Warfare Training Center. Students get the experience operating the remotely operated submersible during their course of instruction.USN photo N-5862D-121 by Chief Photographer's Mate Chris Desmond. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-48157kCommanding Officer, Dextrous (MCM 13), Lt. Cmdr. Michael Riley shows Commodore, Destroyer Squadron Two Eight (DESRON 28), Capt. Thomas H. Copeman, the AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization System while visiting the Avenger-class mine warfare ship on 23 June 2004. Commodore Copeman is staying aboard the guided missile destroyer Bulkeley (DDG 84) while participating in exercises aimed at fighting the global war on terrorism in the Arabian Gulf. Bulkeley is on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).USN photo N-5319A-004 by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Brien Aho. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-48406k Water streams off a Navy AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization Vehicle as it is raised out of the Persian Gulf on July 28, 2004. The vehicle's system uses a remote-controlled submersible vehicle to identify and render underwater objects as safe. The AN/SLQ-48 is attached to the countermeasure ship Dextrous (MCM 13), which is deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. DoD photo N-4374S-009 by Petty Officer 2nd class Michael Sandberg, U.S. Navy. Courtesy of defenselink.mil.
AN/SLQ-48176kSailors assigned to the mine countermeasure ship Dextrous (MCM 13) raise the AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization Vehicle, 28 July 2004 in the Arabian Gulf. The AN/SLQ-48 uses a remote-controlled submersible vehicle to identify and neutralize underwater mines. Dextrous is forward deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. USN photo N-4374S-010 by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-48173kSailors assigned to the mine countermeasure ship Dextrous (MCM 13) raise the AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization Vehicle, 28 July 2004 in the Arabian Gulf. The AN/SLQ-48 uses a remote-controlled submersible vehicle to identify and neutralize underwater mines. Dextrous is forward deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. USN photo N-4374S-005 by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-48336kMineman Steven Hill lowers the AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization Vehicle in the Arabian Gulf by using a vehicle handling system (VHS) aboard the mine countermeasure ship Dextrous (MCM 13).USN photo N-4374S-004 by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
AN/SLQ-48192kSailors assigned to the mine countermeasure ship Dextrous (MCM 13) lower an AN/SLQ-48.USN photo N-4374S-002 by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg. Courtesy of news.navy.mil.
TRCS1.02kSan Diego, 15 July 2016: Sailors aboard Avenger-class Mine Countermeasures Ship Champion (MCM-4) raise the starboard-side AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization Vehicle during an evening mine-hunting exercise in support of the Southern California portion of Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from 30 June to 4 August in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. U.S. Navy photo # 160715-N-DJ750-333 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Bryan Jackson.
Photo added 01/06/17.

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
AN/SLQ-48 - Mine Neutralization Vehicle.
New Mini-Subs Hunt and Destroy Mines

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