Coastal minehunters are ships that are designed to find, classify, and destroy moored and bottom mines from vital waterways. Coastal minehunters are generally smaller and with lower sea-keeping and endurance than oceangoing minehunters. They are usually tasked with keeping fixed high-value choke points clear of mines, such as the approaches to military ports and harbours. In a Cold War context it was especially important to protect those ports used by a nation's ballistic missile submarines.
Minehunters differ from minesweepers in that minesweepers are used against older magnetic mines that are moored just below the surface. Minehunters are designed to seek out mines and destroy them individually, particularly against more advanced modern mines, which sit on the seabed and can be programmed to target specific vessel types (see CAPTOR mine). To do this they have mine-hunting sonar and can act as motherships and support craft for ROVs and combat divers. However, in some circumstances many minehunters can also destroy less advanced magnetic moored mines in the traditional manner.
Coastal minehunter classes
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