MH-53E Airborne Mine Countermeasures Equipment
The MH-53E Helicopter is capable of using a variety of AMCM equipment. In addition, new AMCM equipment is currently in various stages of development. These include the AN/AQS-20 Sonar Detecting Set, Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS), A/N37U-1 Mine Clearing Set for moored mines, and Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNSYS).
The AN/SPU-1/W is a single magnetized orange pipe mine sweeping system which may be externally transported to and from the operating area by an appropriately configured MH-53E Helicopter. The MH-53E Helicopter is capable of towing a single unit or three units in tandem; however, streaming and recovering tandem units is accomplished from surface craft or shore ramp facilities.
The Mk-103 Mod 2 is a mechanical mine sweeping system used for sweeping moored mines. This system is streamed, towed, and recovered by an appropriately configured MH-53E Helicopter. The system is a port and starboard diverted wire sweep that is armed with cutters. The sweep wires are diverted by otters and supported by marker floats.
The Mk-104 Mod 3 acoustic mine sweeping gear generates a sound field capable of actuating acoustic mines. The acoustic gear is designed to be streamed, towed, and recovered by appropriately configured MH-53E Helicopters.
The Mk-105 is a magnetic influence sweep device. The MH-53E Helicopter is not capable of carrying this device; therefore, it is streamed from a surface vessel or shore site. The helicopter acquires the tow cable and aircrews make the electrical and mechanical connections necessary to begin towing operations. When the mission is completed, the tow cable is transferred to another helicopter or back to personnel either aboard a surface vessel or ashore.
The Mk-106 is a combination of acoustic and magnetic sweep formed by attaching the Mk-104 to the Mk-105. General operating procedures are identical to the Mk-105 procedures.
The AN/AQS-14 Sonar Detecting Set is a high resolution, dual side-looking, mine-hunting sonar that is used for detection, classification, and marking of mines and other underwater objects. The sonar's transducers are housed in an underwater towed vehicle while the information processing and display equipment and controls are located in the helicopter. The sonar components are divided into three major groups; underwater towed vehicle, electro-mechanical tow cable, and airborne electronic assembly. The AN/AQS-14 is streamed, towed, and recovered by the MH-53E Helicopter.
The AN/ALQ-141 Acoustic Mine Countermeasures equipment is capable of actuating acoustic mines. The AN/ALQ-141 is composed of the towed sonar vehicle, the electro-mechanical tow cable, and the MH-53E mounted electronic controls. The AN/ALQ-141 is capable of being streamed, towed, and recovered by an appropriately configured MH-53E Helicopter.
The AN/AQS-20 Sonar Detecting Set is a high-resolution sonar that provides the fleet with the operational capability to hunt mines from air and surface craft. The AN/AQS-20 system was initiated to develop a high-speed reconnaissance and mine hunting sonar capable of searching large volumes of the sea for mine-like objects with a high probability of detection and classification and low probability of false alarms. This information is used for mine avoidance and neutralization.
The Airborne Laser Mine Detection System [ALMDS] is an airborne electro-optical system that is capable of rapid detection, classification, and localization of floating and moored mines located in relatively shallow water. With input from GPS, accurate navigation data is provided to determine target location. Operation of the ALMDS consists of firing a pulsed laser into the water and imaging any objects within the illuminated sector using a gated camera system.
The A/N37U-1 Mine Clearing Set, Moored Mines system consists of sweepwires which deploy Mk-17 Mod 1 cutters to sever mine moorings; electro-mechanical depressors which "fly" submerged in the water to maintain predetermined sweep depth; electro-mechanical otters, which function like depressors, but also separate the port and starboard sweepwire sections in order to maintain the proper sweep width; and one or more sections of Kevlar tow wire, depending on the desired sweep depth.
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