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US Navy is close to getting waivers for new countermine platforms, says service official

The US Navy needs a waiver to decommission countermine ships such as the USS Avenger pictured here to field replacement vessels. (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) should soon have the waivers it needs to field its proposed countermine(MCM) replacement platforms, according to David Chase, USN Expeditionary Warfare deputy director.

“We are weeks, not months away from getting that over [the] goal line,” Chase said on 21 May during a keynote speech at the International Mine Warfare Technology Symposium 2024 in San Diego, California.

The USN needs two separate waivers from requirements, Chase noted, that must be cleared through Congress to lift certain restrictions.

“One prohibits us from decommissioning the Avenger-class MCM [ships],” he noted, adding that Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro must certify – and the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) must concur with that certification – that “what we are fielding is equivalent to the capability before decommissioning”.

The second restriction concerns surface ship requirements that would be unmet by the littoral combat ships (LCSs) slated to replace Avenger-class ships for MCM missions, according to Chase. The LCSs require an exception.

Chase pointed out the importance of the LCS replacements as the force of the future for the MCM missions. “Our shipbuilding plan includes the decommissioning of the Avenger class,” he said.

“We are on the threshold of delivering this,” he said. “We are very close [working] over [the] last six months with DOT&E.”

However, he acknowledged a bit of gap between what is being proposed now and what the USN potentially has with the current Avenger class. “There are some limitations in what we are fielding,” he said. “Are there some additional shortfalls? Absolutely.”

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