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MCM-1 Avenger
Mine Countermeasures Ships

In the early 1980s, the U.S. Navy began development of a new mine countermeasures (MCM) force, which included two new classes of ships and minesweeping helicopters. The vital importance of a state-of-the-art mine countermeasures force was strongly underscored in the Persian Gulf during the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war, and in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991 when the Avenger (MCM 1) and Guardian (MCM 5) ships conducted MCM operations.

Avenger class ships are designed as mine hunter-killers capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines. The mission of MCM 1 class ships is to detect, classify and neutralize all known and projected types of influence and contact mines. There are three primary mission objectives: Minehunting , Mine Neutralization, and Mine Sweeping. The MCM 1 performs precise navigation and clears minefields by sweeping moored, magnetic and acoustic influence mines. The MCM 1 also conducts coordinated operations with airborne and other mine countermeasure forces.

This is the largest US Navy Minesweeper to date. The last three MCM ships were purchased in 1990, bringing the total to 14 fully deployable, oceangoing Avenger class ships. These ships use sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control. They are also capable of conventional sweeping measures. The ships are constructed of wood covered with Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) sheathing. They are the first large mine countermeasures ships built in the United States in nearly 27 years.

Osprey (MHC 51) class ships are also designed as mine hunter-killers. The MHC 51 has a 15-day endurance and depends on a support ship or shore based facilities for resupply.

Four of the 14 Avenger-class MCMs transitioned to the Reserve in FY 1996. These state-of-the-art mine countermeasures ships are homeported in Ingleside, TX along with the rest of the Navy's surface mine warfare assets.


Builders Peterson Shipbuilders, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.;
Marinette Marine, Marinette, Wis.
Power Plant Four diesels (600 horsepower each),
two shafts with controllable pitch propellers
Length 224 feet (68.28 meters)
Beam 39 feet (11.89 meters)
Draft (Navigation) 15 ft
Displacement1,312 tons (1,180.8 metric tons) full load
Speed 14 knots (16.1 mph, 25.76 kmph)
Crew8 officers,
76 enlisted
Combat Systems AN/SLQ-37 - Magnetic/Acoustic Sweep System
AN/SLQ-38 - Mechanical Sweep System
AN/SLQ-48 - Mine Neutralization Equipment
AN/SQQ-32 - Minehunting Sonar
AN/SQQ-30 - Variable Depth Minehunting Sonar
AN/SSN-2 - Navigation/Command and Control
AN/SSQ-94 - On board Trainer

Two .50 caliber machine guns
Unit Operating Cost
Annual Average
~$5,000,000 [source: [FY1996 VAMOSC]


Name Number Builder Homeport Ordered Commissioned Decommissioned
USS Avenger MCM 1Ingleside12 Sep 1987
USS Defender MCM 2Ingleside
USS Sentry MCM 3Ingleside
USS Champion MCM 4Ingleside
USS Guardian MCM 5Sasebo
USS Devastator MCM 6Ingleside
USS PatriotMCM 7Sasebo
USS Scout MCM 8Ingleside
USS Pioneer MCM 9Ingleside
USS Warrior MCM 10Ingleside
USS Gladiator MCM 11Ingleside
USS Ardent MCM 12Manama
USS Dextrous MCM 13Manama
USS Chief MCM 14Ingleside

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Sunday, January 24, 1999 1:02:47 PM