Type 343 Hameln class mine countermeasures vessels are multifunctional in use and can be deployed in their function as minesweepers or as mine layers. The core task of minesweeping is taken on by the conventional, towed mine clearance equipment or the towed mechanical or electrical devices, known as “sweeps”. Mechanical sweeps are devices designed to cut the anchoring cables of moored mines. Influence sweeps, most commonly acoustic or magnetic generators, are towed equipment that emulate a particular ship signature thereby causing a mine to detonate. Minesweeper vessels have to pass over mines in order to detect and disable them and thereby find themselves in immediate danger. To minimise the risks, the highest expectations are placed on reducing the vessels’ acoustic and magnetic signature as well as shock-resistant hull construction. Abeking & Rasmussen has the know-how and is continually working on new developments.
The 10 Hameln class vessels (Hameln – Überherrn – Laboe – Pegnitz – Kulmbach – Siegburg – Ensdorf – Passau – Herten – Auerbach/Oberpfalz) were extensively refitted at the end of the ‘90s. Five ships were upgraded to Type 333 Kulmbach class minehunters and the remaining five to Type 352 Ensdorf class minesweepers.