Anglo-US Crusader/Hammerhead Sea Mine

A Tentative Fleet Plan

I really should change my personal text
Joined
9 April 2018
Messages
1,045
Reaction score
2,176
Briefly mentioned here, I remember stumbling across this system on another, now defunct, website covering US sea mines. If I remember, the project dated from the 1970s, and included two variants of rising mine, one based upon a small torpedo, the other rocket-propelled.
 
Briefly mentioned here, I remember stumbling across this system on another, now defunct, website covering US sea mines. If I remember, the project dated from the 1970s, and included two variants of rising mine, one based upon a small torpedo, the other rocket-propelled.

Hammerhead must recycle. Here's a reference to a recent (2020) USN sea mine proposal called Hammerhead for a bottom tethered rising torpedo.

 
What you describe might be the Propelled Rapid Ascent Mine (PRAM), which was being developed in the mid to late 1970s but seems to have disappeared. It was a rocket mine to be fielded alongside CAPTOR, which had a torpedo payload.

If I remember the contents of the defunct website correctly, Crusader/Hammerhead was supposed to post-date the EX-68 PRAM. Given PRAM was cancelled in 1978, that might make Crusader/Hammerhead an 80s project, that is if my recollection is correct (it may not be).
 
Last edited:
Interesting. I might have some sources for that timeframe. Let me go look this week.
 
This entry from Janes Weapon Systems 1982-83 might help.
 

Attachments

  • USN Torpedo and Mine Programmes 1983 pic2.jpg
    USN Torpedo and Mine Programmes 1983 pic2.jpg
    1.1 MB · Views: 76
PRAM was cancelled in September 1978.

This Naval Aviation News from 1986 mentions that there was a US requirement for an Advanced Sea Mine that lined up with a similar UK requirement. It also mentions that the UK had actually funded two competing concept designs, which sure sounds like Crusader and Hammerhead.

The Voice of Naval Aviation https://www.history.navy.mil/conten...l Aviation News/1980/pdf/so86.pdf?shem=ssusxt
 
And here we go, details from Friedman's World Naval Weapon Systems (1989).

Crusader and Hammerhead were the two UK proposed weapons for the joint UK-US Continental Shelf Mine program, designed to operate in shallower water than the deep-water CAPTOR and to engage submarines and surface ships. There was a 1984 competition with candidates from:
  • Marconi -- a CAPTOR-style mine based on Stingray
  • BAe -- rocket-propelled mine like PRAM
  • Ferranti -- a cluster of 10-12 rockets fired from a box launcher in a pre-determined pattern
The two surviving candidates were:
  • Crusader (BAe/Plessey/Honeywell): apparently a buoyancy-propelled mine capable of operating beyond the continental shelf
  • Hammerhead (Marconi/Loral): a torpedo-based mine, payload unclear (possibly still Stingray?)

The program was cancelled by the UK MoD in January 1989, after the USN cut it from its provisional US FY90 budget.
 

Attachments

  • Hammerhead sea mine.jpg
    Hammerhead sea mine.jpg
    72.8 KB · Views: 69
Last edited:
Thanks for the information, looks like a number of interesting concepts were considered.
 
Last edited:
The complete failure of USN mine procurement from the 1970s to the 2010s or so is really sad. So many missed opportunities.
There really hasn’t been an operational instance for the USN since Haiphong harbor in 1972. Mine warfare was best left to the NATO countries on the Baltic and North Sea.
 
There really hasn’t been an operational instance for the USN since Haiphong harbor in 1972. Mine warfare was best left to the NATO countries on the Baltic and North Sea.

The USN mined the Umm Qasr waterway during Operation Desert Storm (and lost an A-6 in the process).

And we should have been better prepared to do it in the interim.
 
Mines are so cheap relative to the effect they can have, it's such a pity that they're always a poor relation amongst the other competing priorities within naval procurement, and that it seems all the institutional memory on how to use them disappears in peacetime.
 
IIRC naval mines proved very effective in interdicting Japanese coastal shipping (Japan was heavily dependent on coastal shipping during the War) during WWII.
 
My understanding is that "Hammerhead" is the name of the current effort to create a new Mk 60 CAPTOR type anti submarine mine. I do not think the name "Hammerhead" was associated with any previous US mining efforts, but if so let me know which historical project that name was associated with. The new mine should have already completed its initial design phase by now; it looks like it might be prototyped by 2026:

 

Similar threads

Please donate to support the forum.

Back
Top Bottom