Hero-class Mine Warfare Vessel (AM)

ROBOTECH Technical Files

by Pieter Thomassen

edited by Tim Wing

Designation: Hero-class Mine Warfare Vessel (AM)

Names and disposition:

41 vessels of this class were built from 1998 through 2007 at Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) in Marinette, Wisconsin.

The Hero-class served in the naval forces of the UN Spacy and the US Navy. After the First Robotech War, 29 vessels survived and later became part of the UEDF Naval Division’s Mine Warfare Forces. Only 3 of those survived through the first years of the Invid occupation. These vessels were all decommissioned and scrapped during the Occupation or in the first year thereafter.

Ship’s Complement:

  • Ships’ crew (24 men).
  • Additional quarters for 216 supernumeraries.

Dimensions:

  • Length: 55.3 meters over all
  • Draught: 3.0 meters
  • Beam: 9.5 meters over all
  • Displacement: 575 tons standard displacement.

Propulsion Systems:

  • Main propulsion system (2): 2500 shp Werkspoor diesel engines powering two steerable variable-pitch propellers aft.
  • Auxiliary thrusters (1): 120 shp propeller in an athwardships tunnel in the bow, driven by the main engines.

Endurance and mobility limits:

  • The dry stores endurance is 2 weeks maximum; after that, the vessel needs to restock.
  • The diesel fuel carried is sufficient to give a range of 4000 nautical miles at a speed of 10 knots.
  • The maximum speed is 18 knots.

Weapon Systems:

  • One octuple General Dynamics Stinger II launcher. This launcher is a self-contained unit with a LLLTV/IIR sight and manual control. No reloads are carried. The installation is mounted aft.
  • One Oerlikon 25mm cannon with 2000 rounds of HEI(T) ammunition mounted forward under the bridge.
  • Three PAP-108 unmanned mine-disposal submersibles.

Electronics:

  • One SQQ-56 mine-hunting sonar in a dome under the bow.
  • Two commercial navigation radar sets (usually Decca) on the pilothouse.

Design Notes:

The Hero-class is an evolutionary design in a lineage stretching back over more than 125 years, back to the fleet minesweepers from before the Second World War. Like all such ships, the Hero-class is intended to clear home and other waters of all naval mines. This means that the Hero is not a front-line warship, but a combat-support vessel. The Hero class can use both sweep methods and mine-hunting techniques to combat mines.

The hull is made of an advanced, long-life GRP material that has no magnetic signature, and the displacement is kept as low as possible both in order to keep production costs down and the pressure footprint as small as feasible. The acoustic signature is low enough that the ships does not require a noise-suppression system. The lower hull contains the engines, sonar and stores. The upper hull has the living quarters and at the stern the handling cranes for the PAP submersibles that are used to place explosives near bottom mines, and the sweep installations needed to deal with moored mines. The superstructure contains the mess, bridge deck and equipment spaces needed for the ship’s functioning.

The armament contains one surface-to-air missile launcher mounted behind the stack. However, due to the lack of air search radar and the small size of the missiles, this mount is not even suited as a point-defense installation against missiles, but it does give some capability against armed helicopters and airplanes not equipped with stand-off weapons. Even so, there are no reloads, but since the Hero-class is expected to operate in home waters or under heavy protection from dedicated ASW and AAW vessels, this is not a problem. Indeed, in many ships stationed in home waters the missiles were not carried onboard, and occasionally the entire mount was removed. The other part of the armament is a single, manually operated 25mm cannon. This weapon is intended mostly as a defense against armed smugglers, pirates, and to detonate floating mines at a safe distance.

History:

The hostilities of the Global Civil War were not the full-scale warfare usually identified with a global war, but rather numerous ‘lesser’ wars and campaigns. One of the most used weapons was the naval mine, by reason of its simplicity, low cost, low risk after placing, and impact on the commercial shipping. Indeed, merely announcing a minefield had been laid, even if not true, was enough to disrupt a major port for days or even weeks.

Consequently, mine warfare forces, long neglected by major navies in favor of larger ships such as missile destroyers and carriers, made a sudden reappearance in all naval theaters. The UN Spacy, under fire by anti-unificationist forces in its early years, adopted the US Navy’s Hero-class minehunter design for its naval division’s mine warfare forces. The Hero-class was built in large numbers, and eventually a small flotilla was stationed in all the world’s major ports, including Macross Island, to check for and clear out naval mines.

The ships saw no action in the First Robotech War, and many were destroyed with the ports they were assigned to in the Zentraedi Holocaust. Between the wars, most of the surviving ships were laid up, with only a small number remaining active, mostly to clear the various left-over munitions of the war. The Seconds Robotech war saw, again, no direct warfare with the Tirolians, but did result in large numbers of the class being destroyed in raids on their depots and as targets of opportunity. The few remaining ships then suffered the Invid invasion, after which a mere 3 remained afloat in distant mobilization depots. These ships were all scrapped after the wars, due to the disappearance of the mine threat after the departure of the Invid.

 


 

Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (R) is the property of Big West Advertising and Studio Nue. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.

Original artwork by: Shoji Kawamori, Miyatake Kazutaka, Haruhiko Mikimoto and Hidetaka Tenjin.

Acknowledgement is extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized in this publication. 

Images from – Robotech Episode 1: Booby-trap

Content by Pieter Thomassen, edited by Tim Wing

Copyright © 1999 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker; 2016 Tim Wing

 

 

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