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    Mine Warfare Experimentation Critical During BALTOPS 2019

    Mine Warfare Experimentation Critical During BALTOPS 2019

    Photo By Chief Petty Officer Shannon Renfroe | A Mk 18 Mod 2 is submerged of FSG Kronsort. The experimental Mine Countermeasures....... read more read more

    KIEL, Germany— A team of researchers from the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research, German Naval Research (WTD 71), and staffs from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet boarded German multipurpose support ship FGS Kronsort to increase capability and experiment with technology never before used in Baltic Sea, June 11.

    The team will test and experiment with Mk 18 Mod 2 unmanned undersea vehicles (UUV) using
    multiple, modular sensor components that expand their capability as part of the exercise Baltic
    Operations (BALTOPS) 2019 Mine Warfare Task Group. The experimentation and testing they
    conduct throughout the exercise provides commanders with a decisive competitive edge.

    “Maintaining open sea lines of communication including ports and key landing areas is a
    critical part of maintaining sea power and sea control, and mine warfare is a key part of that
    effort that cuts across warfare domains,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, commander
    of the BALTOPS 2019 Mine Warfare Task Group and commander of Naval Surface and Mine
    Warfighting Development Center. “Getting underway with our partners and allies to exercises
    those skills, refine doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures, and to experiment with new
    technology keeps us stronger together.”

    The Mk 18 Mod 2 UUVs employed by the researchers have two sensor mission packages. The
    Small Synthetic Aperture Minehunter (SSAM II) is used for high-area coverage mine hunting,
    and the Autonomous Topographic Large Area Survey Forward Looking Sonar (ATLAS FLS) is
    used for intelligence preparation of the operating environment and to mine hunt above the sea

    The Mk 18 Mod 2 experimentation provides valuable insight for BALTOPS multinational
    commanders to make tactical and operational-level decisions about where to direct
    landing forces in the exercise. Not only did the system perform well, it surveyed areas in a much
    more rapid time frame than other systems.

    “It is great seeing U.S. MCM UUV capabilities performing efforts in my home region, which I
    have been working with throughout the last couple years,” said Bundeswehr Senior Chief Nico
    Bermann, assigned to MCMDIV 31 as part of the Personnel Exchange Program. “This tied
    together with the data gathering and shown interoperability will benefit future mine
    countermeasure exercises like BALTOPS. It will also contribute tremendously the development
    of common tactics and procedures.”

    An additional objective the researchers have during the exercise include collecting performance
    measurements in an operationally relevant environment for future improvements to systems to
    support commanders.

    The data collected during the exercise will inform future Commander, U.S.
    6th Fleet Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures (ExMCM) launch-and-recovery, command-and-
    control, and tactics, techniques, and procedures which will directly support partner and allies
    working together in a complex and dynamic security environment in the Baltic region.

    “This year’s exercise participation continues upon past efforts to effectively employ UUV assets
    in the Baltic Sea,” said LCDR Daniel NeSmith, attached to U.S. 6th Fleet’s Mine Countermeasures
    Detachment located in Rota, Spain. “Researchers from allied and partner nations continue to
    jointly study emerging technologies in different environmental conditions. The data collected
    during this exercise will be used to improve employment of Mine Countermeasures systems in
    these types of maritime conditions.”

    Additionally, the researchers and scientists will assess system ability to automate generation of
    products the help commanders have a clearer understanding of the operating environment before
    applying force. The data collected has potential impact not only on ExMCM missions to improve
    integration with partners and allies and may also have applications in other areas beyond mine

    The BALTOPS Mine Warfare Task Group (CTG 162.60) includes more than 15 MCM ships, 15
    undersea unmanned vehicles (UUV), five drone ships, airborne MCM (AMCM), and more than
    70 divers. Mariners and mine warfare experts from 11 allied nations that comprise three distinct
    task units led by the Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON), Standing NATO MCM Group
    (SNMCMG) 1, and MCMDIV 31.

    The BALTOPS 2019 Mine Warfare Task Group include members from the nations of Latvia,
    Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom,
    France, and the United States.

    Additional nations operating in support of BALTOPS 2019 include Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Romania, Spain,
    Sweden and Turkey.

    BALTOPS is an opportunity to promote partnerships, presence, and professionalism through an
    unambiguous display of strength in the Baltic region.



    Date Taken: 06.11.2019
    Date Posted: 06.14.2019 13:35
    Story ID: 327513
    Location: DE

    Web Views: 517
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