Seafarers are honing their handling of the Ukwiał and Głupak systems
We recently reported on the entry into operation of modern minehunters, i.e. ORP Albatros and ORP Mewa. The vessels, built at Remontowa Shipbuilding and forming part of the 13th minesweeper squadron, are currently undergoing an intensive process to be prepared for independent tasks at sea. Meanwhile, somewhat in their shadow, the minesweepers continue to operate.
Mine countermeasure is not only about modern minehunters. It’s also about minesweepers, of which there are 17 in total in both squadrons. These vessels are constantly being modernised and upgraded. They increase their capabilities thanks to submarine vehicles installed on their decks, which, it is worth emphasising, are of Polish production. We are talking about the OPM Ukwiał system, as well as one-shot vehicles, i.e. the OPM Glupak system. Importantly, these vehicles are constantly being used in training and are ready for use if the need arises.
The sea anemone is used to destroy sea mines detected earlier, for example by the ship’s hydroacoustic station. The core of the system is an underwater vehicle weighing more than 170 kilograms. It can descend to a depth of 200 metres, while horizontally operating 400 metres from the ship.
When the ship is in the vicinity of a mine, the submersible vehicle is launched and follows a specific position controlled by the operator. A scanning sonar installed on the vehicle is activated. Data from this sonar is used to carefully guide the vehicle to a distance from which the target can be seen by mounted cameras. The vehicle can mark the exact position of the mine by placing a transmitter in the vicinity of the mine and marking the exact geographical position of the mine. It can also remain in the vicinity of the mine until mine divers arrive or place a remotely fired Toczek payload.
Another underwater vehicle is the Gluptak, developed by the Gdansk University of Technology. It is used to destroy mines and other objects resting on the bottom. It operates at depths that reach 200 m. The mine defence system (OPM) uses a small, remotely operated vehicle about 1 m long and shaped like a torpedo. Powered by small propellers moved by electric motors, it is used to carry an effector that destroys a sea mine using a cumulative explosive charge. During such an operation, the vehicle is also destroyed. In a practice version, it can be used for reconnaissance.
The vehicle is equipped with a rotating warhead with full semi-sphere mobility, designed to target sea mines. The warhead houses a cumulative combat charge with a fuse, TV camera, sonar and two laser light emitters allowing precise targeting with the direction of the cumulative jet. The design allows it to be aimed sideways, rather than just straight ahead like other similar devices around the world. The vehicle has the ability to operate effectively in strong currents of up to 2 m/s.
Thanks to the installation of the submersible vehicles, the 12th minesweeper squadron has gained additional capabilities for the detection, identification and destruction of dangerous objects, which until now only the 13th minesweeper squadron from Gdynia had.