Captor

 

♦ Mk 60 (Captor)

This deep-water ASW mine was conceived about 1960 and developed at NSWC at White Oak. A tentative specific OR was issued in November 1962, the name Captor being selected for a specific OR issued in May 1964. At that time it was hoped that Captor would reduce mine barrier costs by a factor of 100 (and barrier numbers by a factor of 400). The first production contract (for Techeval/Opeval) was awarded to Goodyear Aero-space (now a division of Loral) in 1972. Technical evaluation began in February 1974 and operational evaluation in June. Initial operational capability was achieved in September 1979 and approval for service use granted in February 1980. This very protracted development testifies to the complexity of the sys-tem. In fact, reliability problems prompted a suspension of production in 1980, procurement being resumed in FY82.

Captor (the encapsulated torpedo) is a Mk 46 Mod 4 torpedo encapsulated in a mooring/sensing body that: passively detects and tracks submarines passing overhead. When a supposed track is sufficiently attractive, Captor begins active tracking and then launches the torpedo upward. This mode of operation will work in almost any depth because it utilizes reliable acoustic path (RAP) sound propagation. Determination of the target's initial bearing is by passive acoustic correlation and low-power digital processing, using techniques originally developed for the PUFFS (BQG-2/4) submarine sonar project. The mine body can be air-, surface-, or submarine- (torpedo-tube) launched, and it can moor in water at least 1000 ft deep. Lifetime is several weeks or months. Dimensions (weights) for the air/surface-launched versions are 21 x 145 in (2370 lb); for the submarine-launched version, 21 x 132 in (2056 lb).

During techeval in 1974-February 1975, its detection and classification system suffered from excessive false alarms, and the system was unreliable. However, Captor had shown sufficient potential to warrant further work, and follow-on test and evaluation of initial production units was suggested. Provisional approval for service use (ASU) was granted in January 1976; at this point the production rate was limited to 10 per month. Follow-on test and evaluation, using 10 Captors, began in January 1978. Full-scale production (15/month) was approved in March 1979. At that time the ultimate objective was 5785 Captor mines.

At that time, too, the Captor project included an attempt to control it remotely (RECO) by acoustic signal. This work was still proceeding a decade later; the FY88 program included initial studies of ambient and self noise. RECO now applies to Captor, Quickstrike, and advanced mines of unspecified type. The project is being managed by NSWC White Oak; the con-tractors are APL and Penn State University.

Captor is now being modified to accept a Mk 46 Mod 5 (NEARTIP) torpedo as its warhead. The hardware design for this Mod 1 version was completed under the FY88 program.

Mine Mk 66 is the practice version of Captor.

Procurement began in FY78, the FY78-80 budgets including 1810 Mk 60s. None were bought in FY81, but FY82 included a request for another 400 Captors. Subsequent procurement: FY83, 300; FY84, 300; FY85, 300; FY86, 150 (unrequested). As of 1985, plans called for 475 in FY85, 600 in FY86, 493 in FY87, and none in FY88. Unit cost in FY86, the last year of procurement, was about $377,000. In comparison, the unit cost of Captor was $113,000 in FY78.



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Derick S. Hartshorn - 2009-present
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