Photos show B-52s loaded with mines for simulated massive naval mine drop outside Sweden

During Baltops exercise, U.S. Air Force B-52s have also conducted mine-laying mission off the coasts of Sweden, simulating a counter-marine invasion mission.

U.S. Air Force B-52H strategic bombers deployed to RAF Fairford, UK, used inert MK-62 Quick Strike Mines with MK-15 tail fins to train and test the aircrew’s ability to precisely drop munitions into a target zone during Baltops exercise.

B-52 mine-laying

The two Stratofortresses were each loaded with 9 inert mines built by minemen from the Navy Munitions Command Unit Charleston and Airmen from the 5th Munitions Squadron out of Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

Inert mine in B-52

The B-52 used the bombs to simulate a mission against ships supporting a naval invasion near Ravlunda, Sweden, on the Baltic Sea.

The Mk-62 mines is a Mk-82 500-lb general purpose bomb fitted with a Fin Mk 15, Fin BSU-86/B, or Tail Section Mk 16 and dropped by either a B-52H (or a B-1B – that is also capable to drop JDAMs on naval targets) at high-speed and low altitude (around 1,000 feet). Once in the water, the mine uses an MK57 Target Detection Device (TDD) to detect a ship passing above: basically, it can detect the vessel by pressure of the ship on the water, by magnetism of the ship’s metal or vibration caused by the ship.

B-52s mine-laying ex

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. 18 mines is a “massive” naval mine drop? Really? Could this site please, PLEASE not become another Foxtrotalpha?

    • OK…Multiple by x # of B-52.

      Let’s just say 8 B-52’s x 18 mines each = 144 mines.

      Clearing 144 mines from a SLOC or large body of water would be challenging!

      The point of the exercise was to demonstrate a capability.

      I would say the point is made!

      Better question you might ask: What are Russian Navy mine clearing capabilities today? How long would it take them to ‘clear’ 144 mines – if they actually knew the total #?

      Also, the use of mines would enable effective use of other capabilities including: SSKs, FACMs and land-based ASMs.

      That is the point of the exercise. NATO and Sweden have capabilities and options!

    • Simulated massive drop, in a war scenario each B-52 would be carrying 51 mines (27 internally + 24 externally) and dropping them. The Mark 62 is just a Mark 82 converted into a naval mine so the carriage is the same.

      I’m more surprised to see the mines using the old Snakeye fins, I thought they were gone completely from the inventory but I gather with dropping naval mines, the issues of the Snakeye fins are moot given you’re hitting an area target versus a point target.

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