In Press: Talking Mines in the Taipei Times

by admin on August 5, 2014

navy-recruitment-mine-small-78530The Taipei Times, in a friendly gesture, used my story on China’s recent mine warfare exercises in the South China Sea to advance some wider discussion mine warfare in China’s near seas. Here’s my bit:

Craig Hooper, a former teacher at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, has reported that the Chinese navy conducted its drills in formation for the first time.

The drills were carried out by ships from the Nanhai Fleet.

“The garrison approached the mines in varied formations corresponding to different conditions. After hours of searching, the flotilla discovered a number of smart mines hundreds of meters away and detonated them upon the commander’s order,” Hooper quoted Xinhua news agency as saying.

My contribution to the story was nothing too exciting…but there are a few more interesting nuggets hidden in the story:

First, the reporter, William Lowther, suggests that Taiwan has been–at the urging of U.S. advisors–developing smart mines:

US military advisers have been encouraging Taiwan to develop “smart mines” as a significant part of the nation’s anti-invasion defenses.

The Taipei Times reported in December 2012 that a new generation of “smart mines” was being developed for deployment in shallow water close to the coast, where they would be more effective in stopping enemy landings.

Second, according to Richard Fisher, the PLA(N) is likely using a UUV to detect and clear:

“For about four years, the PLA Navy has been using a new small counter-mine unmanned underwater vehicle [UUV] to both find and dispatch mines, either by moored type or bottom-dwelling mines,” he said. “Such a UUV would allow the PLA Navy minesweepers to detonate smart mines hundreds of meters from their ship.”

Nothing too remarkable, but…I can’t help but wonder just what the U.S. Navy is doing in the mine warfare/mine development department. I can’t see us recommending an ally pursue a weapons system that we aren’t already deeply focused upon.

But that’s just about impossible to discover…I mean, if there’s one thing that characterizes U.S. progress in mine development, it is, well, silence….complete and total silence. If this is the vacuous silence of an atrophied mine-man community or the smug hush of an invigorated, highly classified and “off the radar” set of elite warfighters, I simply can’t tell ya.

Sure am hoping for the latter, but fearing the former.

Follow NextNavy on Twitter

View Craig Hooper's profile on LinkedIn

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: