Surface Forces: SeaFox On The Run

Archives

October 30, 2012: The recent massive naval mine clearing exercise in the mouth of the Persian Gulf (the Straits of Hormuz) demonstrated two things. First, mine clearing ships (which many nations have) and mine clearing helicopters (like the U.S. MH-53) were not as successful as hoped. A lot of the practice mines used were not found. Second, one new system, the SeaFox (a remotely controlled underwater system) was very successful. Ten nations already have SeaFox, and while the United States is a new user, it is hustling to make SeaFox work from different ships and aircraft.  This involves training ship crews to operate SeaFox and equipping ships with the control equipment.

Earlier this year the U.S. Navy ordered several dozen more of the expendable SeaFox UUVs (unmanned underwater vehicles). SeaFox was designed to find and destroy bottom mines (which sit on the seabed) as well as those that float. These UUVs were quickly sent to the Persian Gulf to deal with potential Iranian use of naval mines. The U.S. first used their new Seafox UUVs on some of the eight U.S. Avenger class mine hunting ships stationed in the Persian Gulf.

SeaFox is a small (1.4x.4x.2 meters/55x16x8 inches) battery powered sub that weighs 43 kg (95 pounds) and has a fiber-optic cable connecting it to a surface ship or hovering helicopter. The controller can move the SeaFox close to a suspected mine (using a small sonar unit to assist navigation), then turn on a spotlight for a video cam to examine the object and determine if it is a mine. If it is then SeaFox gets closer and detonates a shaped charge explosive, sending a shaft of hot plasma through the mine destroying it (and the SeaFox).

SeaFox has an endurance of about 100 minutes, a top speed of 10 kilometers an hour, and can dive as deep as 300 meters (930 feet). Operators get to increase their skills and effectiveness using a SeaFox simulator.

 

Article Archive

Surface Forces : Current 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2000 1999

X

Save StrategyPage

Over the years, we have tried to keep in-your-face ads off our site. If our readers have complained about an ad, we have looked into it and 90% of the time removed the ad. Unfortunately, revenues from standard ads are just not enough to keep us alive.

What can you do to help resuscitate StrategyPage? There are three possibilities:

  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. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..

We appreciate any help you can give us.

Subscribe   Contribute   Close