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U.S. Navy Fact Sheet

Mine Countermeasures Ships - MCM

Ships designed to clear mines from vital waterways.

In the early 1980s, the U.S. Navy began development of a new mine countermeasures (MCM) force, which included two new classes of ships and minesweeping helicopters. The vital importance of a state-of-the-art mine countermeasures force was strongly underscored in the Persian Gulf during the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war, and in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991 when the Avenger (MCM 1) and Guardian (MCM 5) ships conducted MCM operations.

Avenger class ships are designed as mine sweepers/hunter-killers capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines. The last three MCM ships were purchased in 1990, bringing the total to 14 fully deployable, oceangoing Avenger class ships.

These ships use sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control. They are also capable of conventional sweeping measures. The ships are of fiberglass sheathed, wooden hull construction.

Point Of Contact
Office of Corporate Communication (SEA 00D)
Naval Sea Systems Command
Washington, D.C. 20376
General Characteristics, Avenger class
Builder: Peterson Shipbuilders, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; Marinette Marine, Marinette, WI.
Date Deployed: Sept. 12, 1987 (USS Avenger)
Propulsion: Four diesels (600 horsepower each), two shafts with controllable pitch propellers.
Length: 224 feet (68.28 meters).
Beam: 39 feet (11.89 meters).
Displacement: 1,312 tons (1,333.06 metric tons) full load.
Speed: 14 knots (16.1 mph, 25.76 kmph).
Crew: 8 officers, 76 enlisted.
Armament: Mine neutralization system. Four .50 caliber machine guns.
USS Avenger (MCM 1), Sasebo, Japan
USS Defender (MCM 2), Sasebo, Japan
USS Sentry (MCM 3), Manama, Bahrain
USS Champion (MCM 4), San Diego, CA
USS Devastator (MCM 6), Manama, Bahrain
USS Patriot (MCM 7), Sasebo, Japan
USS Scout (MCM 8), San Diego, CA
USS Pioneer (MCM 9), San Diego, CA
USS Warrior (MCM 10), Sasebo, Japan
USS Gladiator (MCM 11), Manama, Bahrain
USS Ardent (MCM 12), San Diego, CA
USS Dextrous (MCM 13), Manama, Bahrain
USS Chief (MCM 14), San Diego, CA
Last Update: 15 November 2013