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Marine Minesweepers

Low-tech underwater mines are easy to place undetected, but are powerful enough to damage modern warships. To clear these hazards, Northrop Grumman is developing a helicopter-based technology, called the Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS). It locates mines with laser scanners and destroys them with supercavitating cannon rounds that can cut through water (which is about a thousand times as dense as air), thanks to a carefully designed blunt tip. "The tip creates a shock wave that vaporizes the water ahead of the projectile," says Bob Klein, vice president of maritime and tactical systems for Northrop Grumman. The round effectively travels inside a dry tube of vapor slightly wider than itself, and can detonate mines at depths greater than 40 feet. The next stage in the program is to mount the gun and sensor on an MH-60 helicopter for flight testing. Development should be complete in 2013, with the system entering service in 2015. Marine Minesweepers CANNONS CAPABLE OF FIRING UNDERWATER MAY BE THE NAVY'S BEST TOOL FOR CLEARING UNDERWATER MINES. BY DAVID HAMBLING Projectile A blunt nose creates a shock wave that vaporizes the drag-inducing water around the projectile. Gun The RAMICS gun is 11 feet long and fires 200 shots per minute. Blunt Nose Dry Vapor Tube Other Water Weapons Submerged Firearms Anti-Mine Darts Sewer Rifles In the '60s, the Soviet military introduced the SPP-1 underwater The Navy's Countermine To protect the network of System is a 2000-pound guided bomb that releases more than 4000 darts to clear mines from beaches and surf. Each dart has a supercavitating nose that allows it to punch through more than 10 feet of water. The sewers under the Kremlin, specially trained Russian combat divers are Laser pistol, which allowed combat A helicopter- mounted laser scans the depths for mines and targets the gun. divers to fire blunt-nosed ammunition effective out to 56 feet at shallow armed with an underwater assault rifle, the APS. depth. The NATO equivalent is the Нeckler & Koch НК Р11. system should be fielded by 2016. ILLUSTRATION BY WESLEY ALLSBROOK POPULARMECHANICS.COM | JULY 2009 23 ILLUSTRATION BY BRADLEY R. HUGHES (PROJECTILE) TE CH WA T

Marine Minesweepers

shared by rmmojado on Mar 24
Wesley Allsbrook created a brilliant modern illustration (below) on a technically challenging topic: cannon rounds that can be fired from helicopters to destroy underwater mines.


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