By Lt. j.g. Richard D. Parker, Submarine Force Pacific Public Affairs
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's Pacific Submarine Force successfully tested its operational proficiency in clandestine mine deployment during a Submarine-Launched Mobile Mine Exercise (SLMM-Ex) conducted earlier this month off the coast of Kauai at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF).
SLMM-Ex is designed to demonstrate the capability of U.S. Navy's fast attack submarines to successfully employ submarine launched mobile mines (SLMMs) used specifically for the destruction and/or disruption of enemy ships.
The Mk-67 SLMM was developed as a submarine-deployed mine for use in areas inaccessible for other mine deployment techniques or for clandestine mining in hostile environments.
The Mk-67 SLMM is a submarine-launched mine in service with the U.S. Navy that consists of a Mk-37 torpedo body with a modified warhead and trigger. The main advantage of the weapon is that the submarine does not have to pass over the area where the mine is to be laid; it is launched as a torpedo and swims to the designated mine area.
The crew of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Buffalo (SSN 715) refined their handling and launch procedures of Mk-67 SLMMs before proceeding to sea, where successful trial of inert Mk-67 SLMM exercise mines occurred off PMRF. This exercise was the latest example of submarine force capability in mine deployment.
Following the successful conclusion of the exercise, USS Buffalo Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Brian Tothero, expressed his satisfaction that SLMM-Ex had benefited the crew.
"This exercise was highly beneficial to the weapons handling team, weapons department, navigation piloting team and operational planning parties on the boat," Tothero said. "The processes used to train, walkthrough, certify, and execute this tasking was valuable in preparation for creating operational plans during deployment tasking."
Captain Harry Ganteaume, director of tactics and training for Submarine Force Pacific, noted the strategic importance of the exercise's success.
"The Pacific Submarine Force once again demonstrated successfully its continued ability to conduct submarine-launched clandestine mining operations," Ganteaume said. "Flexibility in our operational capacities is mission critical as submarines take on greater responsibility in forward deployed areas of responsibility. With growing interest in Pacific maritime activities, SLMM-Ex helps to ensure that the U.S. Navy can protect American interests and assist our allies when asked. These exercises help to ensure that the Pacific Submarine Force is prepared to meet the emerging challenges in the years ahead."
Submarine Force Pacific provides anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, precision land strike, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and early warning and special warfare capabilities to U.S. Pacific Command, and strategic deterrence capabilities to U.S. Strategic Command.