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Australia Appoints Italian RWM to Supply Smart Sea Mines

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    Australia Appoints Italian RWM to Supply Smart Sea Mines

    Flashback to last January, when it was reported that Australia was planning to deploy smart sea mines to protect its maritime territory. And after seven months have passed, the latest news came from Canberra which said it had appointed RWM Italia, a subsidiary of Rheinmetall to supply the smart mines in question. 

    Previously there were two choices of supplier countries for smart sea mines, namely Italy and Spain. From the thedefensepost.com page (31/8/2023), the Australian Department of Defense has announced the procurement of an unspecified number of smart sea mines from Rheinmetall's subsidiary, RWM Italy. 

    The contract is a follow-up to last year's procurement evaluation, where the company was assessed as having the best solution to meet the requirements of the Australian Defense Force (ADF).

    According to the Australian Defense Department, smart sea mines can be 'deployed' quickly and are expected to provide a new level of deterrence to anti-submarine missions for the Kangaroo nation's navy. In addition to sea mines, RWM Italy will transfer technology and expertise to Canberra to enable sea mine production and maintenance in-country.

    It is planned that deliveries of smart sea mines will begin at the end of this year. The smart sea mines acquired by Australia are claimed to be the most advanced in the world. These sea mines have precision sensors to detect the magnetic, electrical, acoustic, pressure and seismic effects of enemy ships. 

    This capability makes it possible for the mine to distinguish military ships from non-military ships. In addition, smart sea mines can be deployed (released) from any surface vessel using cranes, rails or ramps. In addition, smart sea mines can also be placed on the seabed using submarine torpedo tubes.

    For the latter, it is also called Seabed Mine Impact (RDLP). These mines have a different concept from mines that are on the surface of the sea. Called "effect" mines, because these mines are activated by acoustic and mechanical influences. While there is the word "seabed," because these mines are (placed) on the ocean floor.

    How do Seabed Mine Effect (RDLP) work? These mines are released from submarines via launch tubes, RDLP can be directed towards trapping areas or targets, such as in bays, straits or docks. When the RDLP has arrived at the target area, then the RDLP will 'sleep or lie down' on the seabed.

    RDLP, which is equipped with magnetic sensors, seismic sensors, induction coils and warheads, will automatically detect the movement of targets passing above it. Targets can be set to hit submarines or surface ships. 

    When the time comes, the target has been locked by the TDD (target detection device) system, then the RDLP will 'wake up' from its sleep and be ready to bulldoze the target directly from the seabed without the opponent realizing its presence.

    The total cost of acquiring the smart sea mines and how many units were purchased are kept secret by Australia, but are estimated to be between $500 million and $1 billion.

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