Iron Men Test New Minesweeping Systems
By Mark Oswell, Naval Surface Forces Staff Writer
Ingleside, Texas – Recently, the “Iron Men” of USS Devastator (MCM6) spent two days underway off Corpus Christi, Texas testing new aft-deck minesweeping modifications.

The crew successfully completed a final System Operation Verification Test (SOVT) on a number of combat system upgrades that have been installed aboard the Devastator, making the ship one of the most advanced mine warfare (MIW) platforms in the fleet.

The first phase of the modification replaced the aging, maintenance-intensive hydraulic system with a much more reliable electric system (Variable AC type motors). Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Philadelphia (NSWC CD) designed the modification based on Fleet input regarding issues with the legacy systems.

“This modification will reduce our required maintenance and increase reliability,” stated Lt. Cmdr. Luke Reinhold, Commanding Officer of Devastator. “The modification will also give us the capability of online monitoring and diagnostics, and reduce the manpower needed to operate and maintain these rigs.”

The second phase of the modification replaced the towed acoustic decoys known as ‘Towed Bodies’ 27 and 26 (TB-27, TB-26) with Advanced Acoustic Generator (AAG, TB-35) and the Infrasonic Advanced Acoustic Generator (IAAG, TB-36).

Both the AAG and IAAG were designed by the Australian company, Thales Australia (formerly ADI Ltd.) with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, Fla., responsible for the acquisition and testing of the new devices.

The verification testing of these modifications in concert with a previous installation of a new Precision Inertial Navigation System offer improved minesweeping capability, less maintenance and a reduction in ‘down time.’ The upgrades allow U.S. Naval mine countermeasures ships to increase the availability of these important assets in-theater for units that rely on ships such as the USS Devastator.

Since the new towed bodies are streamed and towed with a wire instead of the Acoustic Power Cable, a new Tactical Memo (TACMEMO) and updated towing procedures are being developed for all MCM ships that will have these new systems..

While the men of the USS Devastator were the first to operate and test the new modifications in early July, the USS Avenger (MCM 1) is currently conducting an installation of the new systems while in a Planned Maintenance Availability.

Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) Class Squadrons are dedicated to supporting the Warfighter by using collaborative practices that ensure Combatant Commanders can focus on tactical excellence. The Surface Warfare Enterprise facilitates the work of SURFOR groups, including the CLASSRONS, by streamlining requirements and processes and aligning multiple organizations to improve Warfighting Readiness using the best of maintenance, modernization, logistics, manning and training.
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