A minehunter is a naval vessel that seeks, detects, and destroys individual naval mines. Minesweepers, on the other hand, clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of mines. A vessel that combines both of these roles is known as a mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV).

Minenjagddrohne Pinguin
A minehunting ROV of the German Navy with explosive charges underneath the main body
US Navy 080610-G-6464J-020 Members of Canadian Maritime Operations Group 4, Maritime Forces Pacific, based in Esquimalt, British Columbia, lower the Dorado, a 30-ft, 7-ton Interim Remote Mine Hunting and Detection System (IRMDS
Canadian Navy minehunting ROV


A minehunter uses an imaging sonar to detect and classify targets and then sends out divers or remotely operated vehicles to inspect and neutralise the threat, often using small charges that are detonated remotely.

As minehunters will often be operating in close proximity to mines, they are designed so as to reduce their own acoustic and magnetic signatures,[1][2][3][4] two common forms of trigger for mines. For example, they are often soundproofed by mounting machinery on shock absorbers or by using quiet electrical drive,[5] low magnetic electric motors[6] and usually have a wood, fiberglass or non-ferrous metal hull, or are degaussed to reduce magnetic signature.[7]

Minehunters are generally small, shallow-draught vessels, as they are often called upon to work in enclosed bodies of water such as shipping channels or harbours. As manoeuvrability in such areas is critical the Voith-Schneider cycloidal propulsor is commonly used, allowing the engine thrust to be transmitted in any direction. A number of modern vessels use catamaran hulls to provide a large, stable working platform with minimal underwater contact; this reduces draught whilst lowering acoustic transmission and reducing the fluid pressure generated by the moving hull that may otherwise detonate mines with a hydraulic pressure trigger.

See also


  1. ^ Holmes, John J. (2006). Exploitation of a Ship's Magnetic Field Signatures. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. ISBN 9781598290745.
  2. ^ Holmes, John J. (2008). Reduction of a Ship's Magnetic Field Signature. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. ISBN 9781598292480.
  4. ^ B. Froidurot, L.-L. Rouve, A. Foggia, J.-P. Bongiraud, G. Meunier (2002). "Magnetic Discretion of Naval Propulsion Machines" (PDF). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-09-06.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Cope, C. (1996). "Low Magnetic Signature Propulsion System" (PDF). Engineering Matters.
  6. ^ Hasper, H. ""Reduction of Magnetic Strayfield from Squirrel-cage Induction Motors", COMBIMAC document, 02 91". Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  7. ^ Design Guide and Requirements for Equipment to Achieve a Low Magnetic Signature, Ministry of Defence.
A-class minehunter

The A class is a class of minehunter vessels in the Turkish Navy. In 1999, the German shipyards Lürssen and Abeking & Rasmussen were contracted to build six Frankenthal-class ships for the Turkish Navy, a purchase worth US$630 million. While the first vessel was built in Germany, later ships were constructed by the Istanbul Naval Shipyard.The Turkish Navy has become the second naval force in the world, after the German Navy, to use a non-magnetic steel hull in its minehunter vessels.

Bay-class minehunter

The Bay-class Minehunter Inshores were a class of catamaran-hull mine warfare vessels operating with the Royal Australian Navy from 1986. Also referred to as the MHCAT (MineHunter CATamaran), the class was an attempt to produce a locally designed inshore mine warfare vessel. Two prototype ships were ordered in 1981, with the first ship, Rushcutter, commissioned in November 1986. The two ships experienced delays in construction, and the RAN resorted to acquiring six minesweeper auxiliaries (MSA) under the Craft of Opportunity Program to provide an interim mine-warfare capability, while also keeping Ton-class minesweeper HMAS Curlew in service until 1990, well beyond her intended decommissioning date. The ships did not enter service until 1993, due to problems with the sonar.

Belgian minehunter Narcis (M923)

Narcis (M923) is a Tripartite-class minehunter of the Belgian Naval Component, launched in 1990, at the Mercantile-Belyard shipyard in Rupelmonde and christened by Mrs. Lafosse-De Backer, the wife of the then Mayor of Mons, on 14 March 1991. The patronage of Narcis was accepted by the city of Mons. It was the ninth of the Belgian Tripartite-class minehunters. The Belgian government chose to deploy the ship as part of its involvement with enforcing the Libyan no-fly zone.It is currently commanded by Lieutenant First Class Jurgen Van Daele.

EML Sulev (M312)

EML Sulev (M312) was a Lindau-class minehunter of the Estonian Navy Mineships Division.

EML Wambola (M311)

EML Wambola (M311) is a Lindau-class minehunter of the Estonian Navy Mineships Division, formerly the German warship Cuxhaven. The commanding officer of the vessel is Captain Jaanus Antson.

The minehunter Wambola is the first vessel of the Estonian Navy Mineships Division and also the first modernized Lindau-class minehunter. A black keel on a silver background with a golden battle-axe is on the coat of arms of the vessel. The battle-axe is a weapon used by the ancient Estonians which also symbolizes their fighting spirit and strength. The ships motto is the Latin "Ad unquem" which is in English "Onto the nail head". The coat of arms was designed by Priit Herodes. In 2000 a cooperation contract was signed between the Pärnu city council and the minehunter Wambola which gave the vessel a right to wear the Pärnu town coat of arms and to introduce the city in all foreign harbors across the world.

Frankenthal-class minehunter

The Type 332 Frankenthal-class minehunter is a class of German minehunters. The ships are built of non-magnetic steel. Hull, machinery and superstructure of this class is similar to the original Type 343 Hameln-class minesweeper, but the equipment differs.

Slightly modified Frankenthal-class minehunters are also operated by the Turkish Navy, where they are referred to as the A class.

GSL Mine Counter-Measure Vessels

GSL/Kangam Mine Counter-Measure Vessels are series of twelve naval ship jointly built by Goa Shipyard Limited and South Korea’s Kangnam Corporation for the Indian Navy.

Huon-class minehunter

The Huon-class minehunter coastal (MHC) ships are a group of minehunters built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Following problems with the Bay-class minehunters, a request for tender was issued in 1993 for a class of six coastal minehunters under the project designation SEA 1555. The tender was awarded in 1994 to the partnership of Australian Defence Industries (ADI) and Intermarine SpA, which was offering a variant of the Italian Gaeta-class minehunter.

Five of the six ships were constructed completely in Newcastle, New South Wales, while the hull of the first ship was built in Italy, then transported to Australia for fitting out. Construction ran from 1994 to 2003, with lead ship HMAS Huon entering service in 1999. All six vessels are based at HMAS Waterhen, in Sydney. In 2006, following a capability review three years prior, one minehunter was placed in reserve, while another was marked for transfer to reserve status; this instruction was reversed prior to 2008, and the two vessels were tasked with supporting border protection operations. As of January 2014, only four vessels were active, with the other two placed in reserve.

Kulmbach-class mine hunter

The Type 333 Kulmbach class is a class of five German Navy ships. Built as Type 343 Hameln class minesweepers, they have been upgraded to minehunters using Seefuchs expendable drones to detonate detected naval mines.

LKL Kuršis (M51)

LKL Kursis (M54) is a minehunter of the Lithuanian Naval Force. Built in West Germany in 1958 as Marburg (M1080), a Lindau-class (or Type 320) minesweeper for the German Navy, she was upgraded to a Type 331 minehunter in the 1970s. Germany donated Marburg in 2001 to the Lithuanian Naval Force, which renamed the ship Kursis. The vessel augmented the Squadron of Mine-hunters, which had been established in 1999 with the similar donation of sister ship Koblenz, which became Sūduvis (M52).

LKL Sūduvis (M52)

LKL Sūduvis (M52) is a minehunter of the Lithuanian Naval Force. Built in West Germany in 1957 as Koblenz (M1071), a Lindau-class (or Type 320) minesweeper for the German Navy, she was upgraded to a Type 331 minehunter in the 1970s. Germany donated Koblenz to the Lithuanian Naval Force in 1999. The ship, renamed Sūduvis, formed the nucleus of the Lithuanian Naval Force's Squadron of Mine-hunters, which was established on 22 June 1999. The squadron was augmented in 2001 with the similar donation of sister ship Marburg, which became Kursis (M51).

Lerici-class minehunter

The Lerici class is a class of minehunters constructed by Intermarine SpA and owned and operated by the Italian Navy. The class incorporates two subclasses: the first four ships are referred to specifically as the first series of the Lerici class, while eight more ships produced to a slightly modified design are known as "second series Lericis" or as the Gaeta class.

The class design has also been used as the basis for ships of the Royal Malaysian Navy (as the Mahamiru class), the Nigerian Navy, the United States Navy (as the Osprey class), the Royal Australian Navy (as the Huon class), and the Royal Thai Navy (as the Lat Ya class). Three updated vessels are under construction for the Finnish Navy (the Katanpää class). The Republic of Korea Navy operates an unlicensed derivative, known as the Ganggyeong class.

Ley-class minehunter

The Ley class was a class of inshore minehunter built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1950s. They had pennant numbers in the series M2001. Eleven ships were built in the early 1950s, most of which were subsequently disarmed and used as training vessels, RNXS tenders, URNU vessels etc.

Unlike traditional minesweepers, they were not equipped for sweeping moored or magnetic mines. Their work was to locate individual mines and neutralise them. This was a then new role, and the class was configured for working in the shallow water of rivers, estuaries and shipping channels.

They were of composite construction, that is, wood and non-ferrous metals, to give a low magnetic signature, important in a vessel that may be dealing with magnetically detonated mines. They displaced 164 tons fully laden, were armed with a Bofors 40 mm gun and were powered by a pair of Paxman diesel engines.

The class shared the same basic hull as their inshore minesweeper counterpart the Ham class and the Echo-class inshore survey craft.

Lindau-class minehunter

Type 320 Lindau-class minehunters was a class of German coastal minehunters built as part of the first FRG naval program. The ships were made from non-metallic components and built by Burmester Bremen. None of these ships now remain in service with the German Navy. Several went into service with the Estonian and Lithuanian Navy, as well as the Latvian Naval Forces. Flensburg and Weilheim became museum pieces.

Starting in 1970, 11 vessels of this class were upgraded to Type 331 Fulda-class minehunters. Beginning 1979, the six remaining vessels of this class were upgraded to Type 351 Ulm class. They were replaced by the Type 352 Ensdorf-class minesweepers.

All six Type 351s were sold to the South African Navy in 2001. The remaining five ships were sold by the South African Navy to a private owner in 2009 for conversion into pleasure vessels.

Mine countermeasures vessel

A mine countermeasures vessel or MCMV is a type of naval ship designed for the location of and destruction of naval mines which combines the role of a minesweeper and minehunter in one hull. The term MCMV is also applied collectively to minehunters and minesweepers.

Osprey-class minehunter

The Osprey class are a series of coastal minehunters designed to find, classify, and destroy moored and bottom naval mines from vital waterways. They use sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control. The Osprey class are the world's second largest minehunters (surpassed by the Royal Navy's 60-meter (200 ft) Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessels) to be constructed entirely of fiberglass and designed to survive the shock of underwater explosions. Their primary mission is reconnaissance, classification, and neutralization of all types of moored and bottom mines in littoral areas, harbors and coastal waterways.

PNS Munsif (M166)

PNS Munsif (M166) (formerly Sagittaire) is the lead ship of the Munsif-class minehunter currently in service with the Pakistan Navy.PNS Munsif is based on the French design, the Tripartite-class minehunter, and actively served in the French Navy as Sagittaire (M650) before being refitted according to the Pakistani military's service when the Pakistan Navy had bought her in 1992.

Sandown-class minehunter

The Sandown class is a class of fifteen minehunters built primarily for the Royal Navy. The Sandown class also serve with the Royal Saudi Navy and the Estonian Navy. The first vessel was commissioned into Royal Navy service on 9 June 1989 and all the British ships are named after coastal towns and cities. They have a secondary role as offshore patrol vessels.

Tripartite-class minehunter

The Tripartite class is a class of mine warfare vessel used by the navies of Belgium, France and the Netherlands, as well as Pakistan, Indonesia, Latvia, and Bulgaria.

Aircraft carriers
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