The United States Navy and the Air Force jointly deployed an updated 2000-pound shallow water mine from an altitude and at a speed presumably outside the enemy’s anti-aircraft range at the launch of Valiant Shield 2018 in the Northern Marianas region.
Following an Air Force and Marine Corps pairing from Valiant Shield 2016, this year’s demonstration grouped the Air Force’s B-52 bombers of the 96th Bomb Squadron with the Navy’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft of Patrol Squadron Five (VP-5) to deploy and assess the updated shallow-water mine technology, the US Pacific Fleet reported last week.
“In the past, the mines were dropped by gravity weapons, so the B-52s and bombers had to be low to meet their accuracy,” said Air Force Capt. Craig Quinnett, Quickstrike’s B-52 test lead. “With Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and the quickstrike-extended range weapon we have the ability to deploy precision mines from a standoff role which gives us a huge capability.”
“This year’s demonstration stands out from previous iterations because of its improved long-range precision and its use of 2,000-pound quickstrike-extended range mines, over the previously tested 500-pound mines,” said Jeffrey Dudgeon, of Indo-Pacific Command’s Joint Innovation and Experimentation division.
Following the successful test, the inert mines were recovered and are slated to be analyzed for data collection and weapon-component function analysis, in addition to reducing the overall environmental footprint of Exercise Valiant Shield and keeping the waters of the Marianas region clean.