Military Review

SeaFox: Little Killer Sea Fox

29
SeaFox: Little Killer Sea Fox

Appearance in the late 80s - early 90s. Small-sized economical digital signal analyzers made it possible to introduce into the non-contact equipment of modern mines (primarily bottom mines) channels of "fine analysis" of the physical fields of targets, ensuring their classification and destruction of specifically designated types of targets. At the same time, an increase in the sensitivity of proximity fuses led to the possibility of detecting and destroying specialized heavy anti-mine underwater vehicles (NPA), which became in the 80s. the main armament of western anti-mine ships (minesweepers-seekers, TSCHIM).


Taking into account the fact that 2-3 such TNLA were usually placed on TSCHIM, the use of "defenders mines" (with a trigger channel on the TNLA) could lead to "disarming" of TSCHIM at the very beginning of the mine action.

In addition, the cost of "classic" heavy anti-mine ULA turned out to be an order of magnitude (or more) more than the cost of a mine, and the "exchange of a TNLA for a mine" became terribly unprofitable in economic terms.

At the first stage, this led to the emergence of a number of small-size ROVs-mine destroyers, one of the most successful of which was the small ROV SeaFox from Atlas Elektronik (in serial production since 1998)


ROV SeaFox with control cable reel

With a total mass of 43 kg (more than an order of magnitude less than the mass of classic heavy anti-mine UFOs), the SeaFox had a small-sized cumulative warhead weighing 1,4 kg (a conventional NATO anti-mine explosive charge had a mass of 140 kg).


Small-sized cumulative warhead TNPA SeaFox

To destroy a mine with such a small shaped charge, high maneuverability of the TNPA and its close approach to the mine were required. At the same time, the developers approached the issue of physical fields of TNLA simply and rationally. From the ROV SeaFox documentation:

The operation of a mine on the fields of the apparatus is regarded as the fulfillment of its task.

That is, the requirements for an extremely low level of physical fields of such a TNLA were not imposed on the developers (and this is a very important lesson for our Navy, where they love to impose extremely unrealistically overestimated requirements in new models of military equipment).

At the same time, the cost of the combat modification of the TNLA turned out to be quite moderate: about 10 thousand dollars (at prices of the late 2000s), while the cost of a modern western bottom mine was about 20 thousand dollars.


The ROV had two main modifications: a combat (with a warhead) SeaFox C and a reusable training and survey version of Seafox I with an additional set of search equipment.

Typical range of application: 500 or 1000 m, while for its provision on a large current, a cassette with a fiber-optic communication cable up to 4 km long was installed on the ROV itself.

The standard ammunition on the ships of the Swedish Navy was, for example, 10 "survey" Seafox I and 25 "combat" SeaFox C.

At the same time, small anti-mine TNLA in no way replaced heavy TNLA. Given the complexity of mine action, they effectively complemented each other.


SWEDISH Navy with heavy TNLA PMO and light SeaFox


"Shops" TNLA SeaFox at the TSCHIM Navy of Great Britain and Germany.

Small weight, dimensions, simple means of ensuring the use of ROVs allow SeaFox to be used from the smallest floating craft, incl. small boats-RIB.


Separately, it should be noted the extreme simplicity, even "primitiveness" of the SeaFox ship facilities. For example, the cable is wound on a simple manual “meat grinder” winch, and this solution is used even on large minesweepers (including the wealthy US Navy). Works? Works! Then why is it harder?


An extremely simple manual reel with a meat grinder type TNPA cable

The author met photos from the NATO exercises of the SeaFox themselves and their coils in an icy-snow-covered form, i.e. The TNLA is quite suitable for use in conditions of significant negative temperatures (which, for example, another small anti-mine TNLA - K-Ster of the ECA company is not capable of).

The combination of efficiency, simplicity and low cost of the TNLA has led to its wide distribution in the world on a variety of media.


Operators of ROV SeaFox as of the mid-2010s

In the UK, a licensed release of SeaFox TNLA was established for its Navy (for other countries - supplies from Atlas Elektronik).

To equip unmanned mine action boats (BEC) ARCIMS (developed by Atlas Elektronik, adopted by the British Navy), a special launch container for TNLA was developed.


Discharge of ROV SeaFox from unmanned boat (BEC) ARCIMS

In 2002, successful tests were carried out on the use of SeaFox TNLA from the US Navy MH53 anti-mine helicopters, and now they are in service with the US Navy not only in the "ship" version (on the Avendger type), but also in the helicopter version (on the MH53 helicopters).


First tests of ROV SeaFox from a helicopter, 2002, USA

But история develops in a spiral. The operators and developers of SeaFox were faced with the question: why undermine the TNLA for 10 thousand dollars, if you can not do it? Perhaps this was only due to the detachable ultra-small warhead, which had to be attached to the mine hull with special punchers-perforators. This is how the COBRA detachable warhead appeared.


Split ROV SeaFox with detachable warhead COBRA on the stand

The engineering solution, like the entire SeaFox ROV, was simple and elegant. So is the application logic.

A smart mine? This means that it is quite advisable to undermine the TNLA on it (by itself, before its warhead is triggered), since it still completed its combat mission (and "smart processing" requires the corresponding cost of the mine), from the military-economic side it is still a win ( TNLA is cheaper than mines).

"Simple Mine"? Then SeaFox will come up and destroy it with a detachable COBRA warhead with perforators, and at a minimal cost (and the ROV itself will be saved for later use).

Conclusion


The lessons of the creation and use of the small ROV SeaFox are relevant for the Russian Navy precisely as an example of a simple but effective combat complex, to which unrealistic and overestimated requirements were not imposed (achievement of "ultimate characteristics"). SeaFox just does its job well, and for a very reasonable price.

Alas, it is usually quite different with us. A good example of this is the "sausage" of a small TNLA from the State Scientific and Production Enterprise "Region". See article "Ruby" toys... Its developers, having invented tasks for TNPA, seem to have only forgotten to send their apparatus into space, but they do not do well with the solution of the main (anti-mine) task.

Given the scale of the mine threat, the Russian Navy needs simple and effective mass analogues of SeaFox and COBRA, and not expensive and small-scale “sausages” of unknown purpose.
Author:
Articles from this series:
"Ruby" toys
Anti-mine "thirty-four": underwater vehicle RAR-104. Lessons and Conclusions
29 comments
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  1. Shuttle
    Shuttle 15 September 2020 18: 24
    +7
    It is impossible to disagree with the conclusion about the economic efficiency of innovations. Thanks for getting to know SeaFox.
  2. Asad
    Asad 15 September 2020 18: 26
    +2
    Not an expert in this area, but the article did not add optimism! Maybe not so bad?
  3. Undecim
    Undecim 15 September 2020 19: 27
    +6
    At the first stage, this led to the emergence of a number of small-sized TNLA-destroyers of mines
    The first in this field were the Americans. in 1984. At the same time, GEC-Marconi developed two concepts - the use of ABOs and the use of mini-torpedoes. In accordance with the second concept, the Archerfish system was tested in 1991. 1992-1995 GEC-Marconi, in cooperation with SNPE Explo-sives & Propellants Group, has developed an upgraded version of the Archerfish system, used
    using a shaped charge. The work was also attended by Raytheon Naval & Marine Systems in the development of navigation and control systems and the British company BAE Systems.
  4. Ervin
    Ervin 15 September 2020 20: 23
    -5
    The problems of mining and demining should be of concern to countries with a fleet. Not relevant.
    1. timokhin-aa
      15 September 2020 20: 41
      +3
      Strange comment. Can you count the running numbers, and at the same time the turnover of ports?
    2. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 16 September 2020 09: 05
      +2
      Quote: Ervin
      The problems of mining and demining should be of concern to countries with a fleet.

      And there will never be a fleet without solving these problems.
      Because everything that will be built in which case will lie on the ground right at the exit from the bases.

      We have already gone through this once, when only a few mines actually paralyzed the work of the main base of the Black Sea Fleet.
  5. K298rtm
    K298rtm 15 September 2020 21: 23
    +5
    I have such a suspicion (although it’s strange to suspect when I’m almost sure) that our respected industry (MIC) does not like to make simple and effective devices. They have such a tradition (I remembered here that once there was 81p - as simple as a three-line, no problems with data entry, they replaced 83, 84, 86, 88 - and problems went. Why does it introduce under 50 magnitudes when pressing kn a volley - this is a great secret. And there are many examples of such can be recalled).
    1. timokhin-aa
      16 September 2020 12: 26
      +2
      That's right, and the reasons are banal - you can't master money with a simple weapon. This game has been going on since Soviet times.
    2. Fizik M
      Fizik M 3 October 2020 11: 41
      +1
      Quote: K298rtm
      81p - simple as a three-line, no problems with data entry, they replaced 83, 84, 86, 88 - and problems began. Why in a toy flying 50 km introduces a volley under 30 values ​​when kn is pressed - this is a great secret.

      and how much was introduced at 81r?
      they said that she had a calculating device on mechanics (precision conoids)
      1. K298rtm
        K298rtm 3 October 2020 22: 24
        0
        If I remember correctly (this is something old), then analog data (4th values) were entered by pressing Kn "data entry".
  6. Charik
    Charik 16 September 2020 02: 51
    +1
    Does the Russian Navy have small-sized torpedoes in service to destroy enemy torpedoes)?
    1. timokhin-aa
      16 September 2020 12: 27
      0
      Surface ships of projects 20380 and 22350
  7. Vladimir1155
    Vladimir1155 16 September 2020 08: 14
    +1
    "Given the scale of the mine threat, the Russian Navy needs simple and effective mass analogues of SeaFox and COBRA, and not expensive and small-scale" sausages "of unknown purpose."
    Author:
    Maxim Klimov and I agree
  8. Maks1995
    Maks1995 16 September 2020 09: 36
    0
    Recently, just here, there was a review of our developments.
    They scolded. Allegedly for reports of peremogs only.
    Sad.
  9. prodi
    prodi 16 September 2020 10: 25
    -1
    to be honest, it is not very clear if modern mines are non-contact and only work on fields, then why spend money on such mine seekers at all, at least in large quantities; it is enough to generate several "typical" spectra from the surface and the problem will be only with the multiplicity bypass
    1. timokhin-aa
      16 September 2020 12: 28
      +1
      For this there were breakers and now we have (not ours) self-propelled trawls and helicopter trawls.

      But there are mines tuned to specific acoustic spectra or physical fields. And so on finishing them after "weeding" we need an NPA.
      1. prodi
        prodi 16 September 2020 13: 37
        0
        Well, I don't see any particular problem in imitating "these" specific physical fields and the noises of their ships (right?), this is "making noise, not jamming", in any case, it looks much cheaper and more promising, because you can put it on drones. For a more thorough (point) weeding, we need, of course, NPA
        1. timokhin-aa
          16 September 2020 14: 11
          0
          From Klimov:

          accurate imitation of targets in the low-frequency acoustic range is technically impossible
          + it is physically impossible to simulate the hydrodynamic field with the currently known technical means
          on the magnetic - also "there are nuances"

          ALL work on "trawl-imitators" eventually came to "some similarity" (and not "exact imitation", due to the impossibility of the latter)
          1. prodi
            prodi 16 September 2020 14: 24
            -1
            all the same, I don't see any special problems in imitation and low-frequency noise, something is "accurate" (whatever it is), it is generally fiction
            1. timokhin-aa
              16 September 2020 14: 27
              0
              To simulate the LF signature of a particular ship's hull, he needs it himself.
              1. prodi
                prodi 16 September 2020 14: 31
                0
                I somehow doubt very much that anyone will sharpen mines for any specific signature, and as for imitation, the membrane of some (rather modest) sizes and rigidity, when supplied with the necessary (and more than real) power, is quite capable of effectively " rumble "in the water
                1. timokhin-aa
                  16 September 2020 14: 38
                  0
                  The mines will be sharpened for a specific range, in which specific high-priority targets fall and others do not, for the rest - LF in this case is not a shock wave, but the movement of a mass of water being pulled apart by the ship's hull.
                  Therefore, do not simulate.
                  1. prodi
                    prodi 16 September 2020 14: 44
                    0
                    the spreading of the masses of water is also a low-frequency signal, and it is also necessary to take into account the depth of the mine placement and the response threshold; in addition, well, after all, no one wants to "bang" from one point, drones will ply in squares and such (variable) signal power should be enough
                    1. timokhin-aa
                      16 September 2020 15: 15
                      0
                      Well, you can't simulate that. We tried, see what the Swedes carry with their self-propelled trawls for imitation.
                      1. prodi
                        prodi 16 September 2020 15: 21
                        0
                        Okay, all the same, I have long gone beyond the limits of my competence, although you can drag both a long one with you and a wide one between two drones. The size of the vessel is less about signal strength (except in shallow water), but rather frequency. A membrane with a diameter of a meter is quite capable of reproducing 1-2 Hz, although you still need to look at what frequency the phonit of the reservoir is
                      2. Fizik M
                        Fizik M 3 October 2020 11: 40
                        +1
                        Quote: prodi
                        A membrane with a diameter of a meter is quite capable of reproducing 1-2 Hz, although you still need to look at what frequency the phonit of the reservoir is

                        the question is not in a specific frequency, but ALL LF SPECTRUM
                      3. prodi
                        prodi 3 October 2020 15: 29
                        -1
                        yes, in general, I agree that the NLA is better; the main complaint is too slow (apparently optical) bottom scanning with a single device
  • Earthshaker
    Earthshaker 16 September 2020 18: 41
    0
    Quote: Alexey RA
    Quote: Ervin
    The problems of mining and demining should be of concern to countries with a fleet.

    And there will never be a fleet without solving these problems.
    Because everything that will be built in which case will lie on the ground right at the exit from the bases.

    We have already gone through this once, when only a few mines actually paralyzed the work of the main base of the Black Sea Fleet.

    The entire KBF then, was afraid to leave Kronstadt. Except, perhaps, pl.
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 18 September 2020 15: 08
      +1
      Quote: Earthshaker
      The entire KBF then, was afraid to leave Kronstadt.

      To be fair: the KBF's situation was actually worse than that of the Black Sea Fleet.
      The Black Sea residents had minefields only in the areas of bases and ports. And at the KBF in the shallow Gulf of Finland and the adjacent part of the Baltic, mines were placed anywhere - up to obstacles across the entire bay. A step to the left, a step to the right - and it will be like with the Z-35 and Z-36, which climbed into the German MZ "Nashorn" at night.
      Plus, both sides involved in the setting everything that could reach the staging area and drop mines - up to the Ministry of Defense, TKA, BDB and storm boats. It was so-so with navigational training on "little things". and the working conditions of the navigators were Spartan. As a result, there was no exact map of the obstacles even for their productions. In 1944, due to such "creative mining", the Germans lost 3 destroyers of the 6th Flotilla - they ended up at the MZ, previously exhibited by the German BDB "a little not there."