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    Baltic exercise Mine Search Leads to Torpedo Discovery

    ABOARD USS MOUNT WHITNEY, AT SEA

    06.17.2009

    Courtesy Story

    U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet

    USS MOUNT WHITNEY, Baltic Sea — A Swedish Navy ship operating in the Baltic Sea June 12 discovered a British Royal Navy torpedo while conducting mine counter-measure operations as part of Baltic Operations exercise 2009.

    On June 10, the Swedish mine ship HSwMS Faaroesund discovered an object while deploying its Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for a tactical evaluation of the sea floor as part of BALTOPS. To explore further, they deployed divers and unmanned probes with video equipment to record the evidence.

    Several underwater images of moored contact lines that serve as anchors used to keep mines from floating to the surface confirmed the presence of a line of mines deployed during WWII. While they were exploring they also discovered an intact British Royal Navy torpedo from the same time frame.

    "The Baltic Sea has been a scene for many wars. We quite often find unexploded ordnance, such as German mines, UK mines, and UK torpedoes," said Lt. Cmdr. Jörgen Bergman, a Swedish planning officer embarked upon amphibious control ship USS Mount Whitney.

    Although the presence of mines creates problems in shipping lanes and underwater development in the Baltic Sea, Swedish authorities say the torpedo poses no threat, according to Bergman.
    The AUV Sapphires, the Swedish torpedo converted for underwater surveying, detected the object with its Synthetic Aperture Sonar. SAS is a sophisticated system that generates a higher resolution than standard types of sonar.

    It's estimated that more than 100,000 mines were laid throughout both world wars, ranging from Sweden to Lithuania with approximately 60,000 remaining undiscovered.

    BALTOPS is comprised of forces from 12 countries and is the largest multinational naval exercise this year in the Baltic Sea. Annually hosted by the United States Navy, the exercise aims to improve maritime security in the Baltic Sea through increased interoperability and cooperation among regional allies.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.17.2009
    Date Posted: 06.17.2009 09:04
    Story ID: 35220
    Location: ABOARD USS MOUNT WHITNEY, AT SEA

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