From Sailors To Robots: A Revolution In Clearing Mines
For over a century, clearing mines was a brutal, crude and close-up business. Specialized ships, divers, and even trained dolphins had to go right into the minefield. The US Navy has led the world in counter-mine equipment that could be towed from helicopters, but that still means flying low, slow and in a predictable pattern in airspace where enemy aircraft or missile launchers might be watching. There are even reports that China has developed anti-helicopter mines designed to launch themselves out of the water. For more than a decade, the Navy has increasingly invested in technologies to “keep the sailor out of the minefield” by sending unmanned systems in, both under water and on the surface.