Mine Countermeasures Ships (MCM)

Avenger Class



Ships designed to clear mines from vital waterways.


In the early 1980s, the U.S. Navy began development of a new mine countermeasures (MCM) force, which included two new classes of ships and minesweeping helicopters. The vital importance of a state-of-the-art mine countermeasures force was strongly underscored in the Persian Gulf during the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war, and in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991 when the Avenger (MCM 1) and Guardian (MCM 5) ships conducted MCM operations. To learn more about mine warfare visit the Commander Mine Warfare Command web site.

Avenger class ships are designed as mine sweepers/hunter-killers capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines. The last three MCM ships were purchased in 1990, bringing the total to 14 fully deployable, oceangoing Avenger class ships.

These ships use sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control. They are also capable of conventional sweeping measures. The ships are of fiberglass sheathed, wooden hull construction. They are the first large mine countermeasures ships built in the United States in nearly 27 years.

Point Of Contact:
Office of Corporate Communication
Naval Sea Systems Command (SEA 00D)
Washington, D.C. 20376

Builder Peterson Shipbuilders, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; Marinette Marine, Marinette, WI.
Date Deployed Sept. 12, 1987 (USS Avenger)
Propulsion 4 × Waukesha Motors Co. diesels (first two ships) or four Isotta Fraschini diesels (600 horsepower each), two shafts with controllable pitch propellers
Length 224 feet (68.28 meters)
Hull Wood covered by glass reinforced plastic
Beam 39 feet (11.89 meters)
Displacement 1,312 tons (1,333.06 metric tons) full load
Draft 13 feet
Speed 14 knots (16.1 mph, 25.76 kmph)
Crew 8 officers, 76 enlisted
Armament Mine neutralization system. Two .50 caliber machine guns, two M60.7 62 mm machine guns, two MK19 grenade launchers
Precise Integrated Navigation System (PINS) one AN/SQQ-32 Mine Hunting Sonar, one AN/SPS-55 Surface Radar. one AN/WSN-2 Gyro Compass
Mine Countermeasure Equipment Suite one AN/SLQ-48 (V) Mine Neutralization System, one AN/SQL-37 (V) 3 Magnetic/Acoustic Influence Minesweeping Gear, Oropesa type 0 size 1 Mechanical Sweep Equipment, MDG 1701 Marconi Magnetometer Degaussing System
Auxiliary Systems three Isotta Fraschini ship service diesel generator sets, one solar gas turbine generator, one omnithruster bow thruster system

 MCMs: Mine Countermeasure Ships

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