Naval Air: B-52 Drops 162 Naval Mines Off Guam


June 25, 2008: This month, several U.S. B-52 bombers practiced dropping naval mines off the coast of Guam, in the central Pacific. The bombers dropped 162 inert mines. The Mk-62 is a U.S. Navy weapon, and is basically a 500 pound bomb with a 70 pound electronics and sensor package screwed on.

Once the Mk-62 hits the water (slowed down by a parachute), it sinks to the bottom (the mines are dropped in shallow coastal waters, harbors or rivers) and its sensor package turns on. The Mk-62 is programmed beforehand to go after certain types of targets. Magnetic, pressure and sound sensors can identify a wide variety of ships, and only certain types are attacked. The battery on the Mk-62 powers the electronics package for a long time (the exact duration is, obviously, secret) but is reported to be at least weeks. If you drop several Mk-62s in an area, some can shut down until others run down their batteries. The software in the Mk-62 is extremely flexible and capable, and the sensors are all passive (they do not emit) making the mines hard to detect and clear.

Navy warplanes regularly train dropping Mk-62s. Similar mines can also be delivered by submarines. These mines can be decisive weapons, if used by a power that can deliver them quickly by air. For that reason, air force aircraft are equipped to carry the Mk-62s, and train dropping them.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close