Volume 31, Issue 2, Summer  2017

Twenty-First-Century Aerial Mining

On 23 September 2014, a B-52H bomber at high altitude north of Guam accomplished an aviation first--the release of a winged, precision aerial mine. This effort marked the first advance in aerial mine-delivery techniques since 1943, demonstrating a capability that substantially changes the possibilities for aerial mining in a threat environment and reintroducing a powerful deterrent into the arsenal. In a globalized world where potential adversaries heavily depend on maritime forces for power projection, logistical support, and commerce, standoff precision mines launched from aircraft can provide the president and secretary of defense with a powerful airpower addition to countermaritime capabilities.


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John Okonski 3/3/2015 6:00:04 PM

What about the Harpoon? In the 1980s, the 42d BW and 43d SW were tasked the Harpoon mining-laying mission. The 43 SW, based at Andersen AFB, Guam, participated regularly in Exercise Team Spirit by laying mines in Chinhae harbor.

grumpy 3/6/2015 8:16:45 AM

What about the next generation of SDBs? Can they engage a moving boat? I don't see why not. LRASM is on the way as well which will provide strike aircraft with a credible anti-shipping capability.

David P. Murphy 3/19/2015 5:15:42 PM

This was an excellent article on the subject of air-laid naval mines. If the US becomes serious about developing the QUICKSTRIKE-ER, threat responses must be taken into account. This type of naval warfare will make it necessary to improve the mine-countermeasures (MCM) capabilities of the US which at present appear to be sorely lacking. Threat forces have shown skill in employing indigenous surface craft to lay mines, frustrating US objectives. The Korean Conflict proved to be a shock to Navy planners as well as crews aboard several ships.

jahara matisek 3/20/2015 10:34:53 PM

Is anyone talking about laying aerial mines that lay in the air...think of a AIM-9 on a balloon waiting to pick up a hostile aircraft...

Thomas Jones 3/25/2015 10:59:02 PM

Excellent article! This is one of the best ASPJ articles I''ve read in time. Hopefully the AF will procure the capability in numbers. Additionally, we must plan for adversaries to develop similar capabilities and develop robust Navy MCM capabilities.

Douglas Watt 3/28/2015 7:50:39 PM

You got to be kidding! Why not just use a couple of submarines?

Daemon Hobbs 5/17/2015 3:24:00 AM

Great article! Talk about an asymetric weapon that the USAF should take a lot more seriously. Economic power, the basis of military power, relies on sea-bourne commerce. Disrupt that of an adversary and you affect his military power greatly.

unknown 10/20/2015 12:55:38 AM

The End of Airspace buffer 3 and 12 mile limits. What will be the new protective ring. Domestic Airspace was "lost" when the built silk worms and tomahawks. Why do we need intercepts now in the era of cruise missiles, and drones.... The Enola Gay does not have to be over Hiroshima to drop payloads anymore .... Please adopt new procedures to keep the Bears away and the H-6''s as well. ding ding ding sound klaxon here The ALS System does not work everywhere at once.