The Australian defense ministry has announced its procurement of an unspecified number of smart sea mines from Rheinmetall subsidiary RWM Italia.
The contract follows an evaluation of market options last year, in which the company was assessed to have the best solution to meet Australian Defence Force (ADF) requirements.
According to the ministry, the “rapidly deployable” smart sea mines are expected to provide a new level of deterrence to the country’s naval forces.
— Rheinmetall (@RheinmetallAG) August 29, 2023
“The reinvigoration of a maritime mining capability for the ADF will increase its ability to deter through denial any adversary’s attempt to project power against Australia,” ADF guided weapons chief Leon Phillips said.
In addition to the sea mines, RWM Italia will transfer technologies and expertise to Canberra to enable local manufacturing and maintenance.
Deliveries are set to begin later this year.
Smart Sea Mines
The “technologically sophisticated” smart sea mines are regarded as the most advanced in the world.
They have precision sensors to detect enemy ships’ magnetic, electrical, acoustic, pressure, and seismic effects.
This capability allows the weapon to distinguish military vessels from non-military ones.
Additionally, the smart sea mines can be deployed from any surface ship using cranes, rails, or ramps.
They can also be placed on the sea bed using a submarine torpedo tube.
‘Providing 21st Century Capability’
Phillips revealed that the smart sea mines Australia has procured can be filled with domestic explosives for added lethality.
They are expected to provide a “profound step-up” for the country’s defense capabilities.
“We are providing the ADF with the capability it needs for the 21st century,” he said. “The level of technology involved in this acquisition will take our forces to the cutting-edge of modern military hardware.”