Minehunter HMS Bangor at sea

Seven things to know about the Royal Navy’s Minehunters

Find out how Minehunters work, and how this Royal Navy capability is keeping Britain safe whilst supporting jobs for people back home.

1. Safe passage

Minehunters clear the seas of mines to allow safe passage for other ships.

Image of a Minehunter operating in the Gulf with three other types of ships
HMS Shoreham (a Sandown Class Mine hunter) operating in the Persian Gulf and leading USS’s Sentry, Devastator and Dextrous during an International Mine Counter Measures Exercise

They do this by swiftly detecting and neutralising the threat posed by mines, reassuring allied and other shipping alike that it is safe to proceed.

2. The Hunt Class

The Hunt Class Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMVs) use high definition sonar to scour the world’s seabeds for mines and lost explosives.

HMS Brocklesby a Hunt Class Minehunter
HMS Brocklesby, a Hunt Class Minehunter

Key stats

Length: 60 metres

Displacement: 725 tonnes

Range: 1,500 nautical miles

Crew size: 47 on-board

3. The Sandown Class

The Sandown Class, like the Hunt Class, have glass-reinforced plastic hulls to conceal their presence from the threat of sea-mines.

Sandown Class Minehunter, HMS Pembroke
Sandown Class Minehunter, HMS Pembroke

Their sonars are capable of detecting and classifying an object the size of a football up to 1,000 metres away.

Key stats

Length: 52.5 metres

Displacement: 600 tonnes

Range: 2,500 nautical miles

Crew size: 40 on-board

4. Disposing of mines

When a mine is found, these are then destroyed by the Minehunter’s clearance diving teams or SeaFox Mine Disposal system.

A SeaFox Mine Disposal system in action
A SeaFox Mine Disposal system in action

This is the remotely operated submersible is used to identify the threat of underwater explosives through fibre optic cables from the parent ship. The unit is guided to the target and will then detonate a targeted explosion using a shaped charge to dispose of the mine.

5. Jobs and local economies

A £5.5 million contract will provide support for small diesel engines onboard critical Royal Navy vessels, including Minehunters.

Infographic from Defence Equipment and Support and how it will support local economies
Infographic from Defence Equipment and Support about the contract and how it will support local economies

The award of the contract will sustain highly-skilled jobs within the marine industry in the Northeast of England, as well as providing work to those enrolled in the company’s sponsored engineering apprenticeship scheme.

6. Capability

Small diesel engines are the main engines to vessels like the Minehunters and also are fitted alongside larger engines in vessels throughout the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) fleet as emergency diesels.

These wider vessels include the Type 23 frigates 👇

Example of a Type 23 Frigate, HMS Northumberland
Example of a Type 23 Frigate, HMS Northumberland

Bay-Class RFA 👇

Example of a Bay Class, RFA Mounts Bay
Example of a Bay Class, RFA Mounts Bay

Albion Class amphibious assault ships 👇

Example of an Albion Class amphibious assault ship, HMS Bulwark
Example of an Albion Class amphibious assault ship, HMS Bulwark

7. Why we need them

Without safe passages, our food supplies, parcels and fuel can’t get to Britain.

Hunt Class HMS Chiddingfold Minehunter and crew
Hunt Class HMS Chiddingfold Minehunter and crew following 2016 deployment to the Gulf

Minehunters protect the oceans, our Armed Forces personnel and our way of life back home.

Find out where the UK Armed Forces are deployed here 👇

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ministry of Defence

Ministry of Defence

DefenceHQ is the official corporate news channel of the UK Ministry of Defence.