How the College Football Playoff works

Well after that, a system of two polls picked champions, sometimes two different champions. Peak absurdity came in 1978, when one poll declared Southern California the winner while the other named Alabama, even though Southern California had manhandled Alabama in Alabama that year. All the confusion finally gave way to a Bowl Championship Series from 1998-2013, in which a phalanx of humans and computers would choose two teams to play in one championship game.

Eventually, or very eventually, that gave way to the current system, the College Football Playoff.

How does it work?

It works complicatedly, as with the rest of the 151-year history of college football. A 13-member committee meets five or six or seven times per autumn in a gaudy hotel near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. That committee studies the weekend gone by and issues top-25 rankings for five straight Tuesday nights, usually through late October, all of November and early December, then a final ranking on a Sunday midday in early December. The top four teams from that final ranking reach the College Football Playoff. This pandemic year, five meetings run from Nov. 24 through Dec. 20, a late start and finish. The first rankings will be announced at 7 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN.

When did it begin?

It began in the imagination in late 2011, once the country finally wearied of merely 142 years of unsatisfying procedures for determining national champions. From late 2011 through 2012 and into 2013 in meeting rooms in various cities, sober administrators who manage a non-sober sport came to gradual and then vast layers of agreement. The actual football part of it began with the 2014-15 season and on Jan. 1, 2015, when the first national semifinals pitted No. 1 seed Alabama against No. 4 seed Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and No. 2 seed Oregon against No. 3 seed Florida State in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Who is on the committee?

Generally, it’s a group of model citizens, plus coaches and athletic directors. With the coaches always former and the athletic directors always current, those two groups comprise the majority of the committee. Committee members rotate in and out; by now, 27 people have served and flown to Texas often, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2014-16) and former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno (2017-present), whose presences on such a committee after their previous pursuits constitute either precipitous decline or significant upgrade, depending on one’s perspective. Recent years have brought college football all-Americans and NFL veterans who refrained from going into coaching: Ronnie Lott (2019-present) and John Urschel (2020).

At present, there are seven athletic directors (Iowa’s Gary Barta, Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione, Wyoming’s Tom Burman, Colorado’s Rick George, Arkansas State’s Terry Mohajir, Georgia Tech’s Todd Stansbury and Florida’s Scott Stricklin), two retired former head coaches (Ken Hatfield and R.C. Slocum), Odierno, Lott, Urschel and Paola Boivin, a longtime Phoenix sports columnist turned Arizona State professor. In the sportswriter vein, Boivin

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What is the Electoral College? Which states have the most electoral votes? How it works

What is the Electoral College? As America votes in the 2020 election, voters may be wondering how it works, why we have it, and where the magic number 270 comes from.

For starters, the “college” is not like a university or other institute of higher learning. It’s a group of people — 538 to be exact — who chooses the president and the vice president of the United States of America. The White House race is not decided by the popular vote, unlike local and state elections.

As a result, the winning presidential candidate only needs to secure 270 electoral votes and can still end up with fewer total votes across the U.S. This political phenomenon has happened five times: In 2016, when Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton with nearly 3 million fewer total votes; in 2000, when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush; in 1888, when Benjamin Harrison beat the more popular Grover Cleveland; in 1876, when Rutherford B. Hayes defeated Samuel Tilden; and in 1824 when John Quincy Adams lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson but had the electoral college support.

Why 538? The number of electors in each state (and the District of Columbia) is equal to the number of congressional seats that state has in the House and Senate. Each state (and Washington, D.C.) has at least three electoral votes; the number of votes per state is determined by the number of representatives, which is determined by the population count from the most recent Census.

Congress has a total of 435 House members and 100 senators (two per U.S. state). The Electoral College has 538 members because the District of Columbia was awarded three electors with passage of the 23rd Amendment.

The magic number — 270 — is simply the minimum number of electoral votes required to secure a majority and win the presidential election.

Which states have the most electoral votes?

California has the most electoral votes with 55, followed by 38 in Texas, 29 in New York and Florida, 20 in Illinois and Pennsylvania, and 18 in Ohio.

Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming each have the fewest electoral votes: Three.

“Battleground” states are typically U.S. states with a large number of electoral votes with a balanced number of Republican and Democratic voters. Most states vote the same way every year, which is why analysts often say a candidate can “win the election” if they simply win a small handful of states.

In the 2020 race between President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, Politico reports eight battleground states are being eyed as crucial to winning: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

When a presidential candidate receives the most votes in a state, they get all of that state’s electoral votes — except for Maine and Nebraska, which split electoral votes based on popular voting. So when millions of U.S. voters cast their ballot for a presidential candidate, they’re actually

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How the electoral college works and how the president will be selected this year

a close up of text on a white background: A Pennsylvania elector holds her ballot for President Donald Trump on December 19, 2016. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

© Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
A Pennsylvania elector holds her ballot for President Donald Trump on December 19, 2016. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

  • In the United States, Americans don’t directly elect the president.
  • Instead, states appoint a number of electors equal to the number of representatives they have in Congress to the electoral college, a system that was devised in the 18th century by the founders of the United States. 

Voting in the 2020 presidential election ends tomrrow on November 3. In the United States, Americans don’t directly elect the president. And contrary to popular belief, there is no constitutional right to vote for president.

Instead, states appoint a number of electors equal to the number of representatives they have in Congress to the electoral college, a system that was devised in the 18th century by the founders of the United States. 

All states except for Maine and Nebraska use a winner-take-all system in which the candidate who wins the most votes earns all of the state’s electoral college votes. 

This system has resulted in some presidential elections — like the ones in 2000 and 2016 — in which the winner of the national popular vote loses the electoral college, sparking criticism that the electoral college is fundamentally undemocratic and disenfranchises voters. 

a person on a court: Harris County election clerk Jose Mendoza watches over voting booths during early voting for Texas primary runoffs on June 29 in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

© (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Harris County election clerk Jose Mendoza watches over voting booths during early voting for Texas primary runoffs on June 29 in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Here’s the timeline for how the electoral college will play out in 2020.

November 3, 2020: States appoint their electors  

States must appoint their electors to the electoral college on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November under a federal law passed by Congress in 1845.

Today, all states hold popular elections to determine how their electoral college votes will be allocated, but they aren’t required to do so by the constitution or by federal law. For much of America’s early history, legislatures directly voted on how to appoint their electors without any input from the voters. 

In most previous years, TV networks and outlets like the Associated Press have been able to call the winner on election night based on the available results and projections from data like exit polls.

But importantly, the results of any election are never finalized on election night. In every US state, state laws explicitly allocate multiple days or weeks for officials to fully canvass and then certify the results.

And due to the projected increase in the proportion of Americans casting mail ballots, which take longer to process and count than in-person votes, there may not be enough available results to declare a winner on election night. 

During the canvassing process, canvassing boards, which are usually composed of county-level election officials, process and tabulate not just the votes of those who voted in person, but absentee and mail-in ballots, provisional ballots, and ballots from overseas and military voters.  

The canvassing process immediately after the election is the time in which we’re

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Michigan’s Zak Irvin works through adversity to finish college career strong

Zak Irvin is one of the lucky ones who can fall asleep on airplanes. On March 8, surrounded by his University of Michigan teammates, coaches, their families, the pep band and cheerleaders, he zonked out before the plane that was about to take them to Washington, D.C. for the Big Ten tournament even began to taxi down the runway.

But Irvin’s slumber was interrupted that day. Trying to take off in high winds at Willow Run Airport, the pilot quickly determined he wasn’t going to be able to get the plane into the air, so he did the only thing he could — hit the brakes. Michigan assistant coach Billy Donlon won’t ever forget what happened next.

“If [the pilot] keeps going straight, we’re going to run into buildings,” Donlon said. “He had to make a hard left to get off the runaway. It wasn’t like we slid off the runway. He had to do it to avoid buildings.”

Only when the plane skidded into a fence did Irvin awaken to the horror that was unfolding.

“We took out a fence,” Irvin said. “That’s what I woke up to. I’m like, ‘what is going on right now?’ I heard people screaming. Was this real life or a movie? I felt like I was dreaming.”

“After what I’ve been through this season, I’m ready for anything.”

Zak Irvin

It wasn’t a dream, but it wasn’t a nightmare, either. Everyone on board scrambled to safety, and there were no serious injuries.

“I talked to some pilots afterwards,” Donlon said. “And a couple of them told me the majority of mishaps like that are all-or-nothing deals. Either everybody walks away, or nobody walks away. We were really lucky.”

Michigan coach John Beilein and athletic director Warde Manuel gave the Wolverines the option of getting back on a plane and playing in the Big Ten tournament or staying in Ann Arbor, but there was never a question about what they would do.

What happened next will be talked about as long as college basketball is played. Forced to compete in their practice gear because their uniforms were still packed on the damaged plane, and arriving at the Verizon Center just two hours before game time, the Wolverines, seeded No. 8 in the tournament, beat Illinois to advance to the quarterfinals. There, they took out No. 1 seed Purdue. In the semifinals, Michigan got past Minnesota, setting up a championship game matchup with Wisconsin. The Wolverines won, secured an automatic NCAA tournament bid and advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 before their run was ended by eventual Final Four participant Oregon.

Of course the national media breathlessly told the story of how Michigan, uncertain of an NCAA berth before its brush with tragedy, was propelled through March by its good fortune. But the truth was, the Wolverines were 6-2 in their previous eight games before the Big Ten tournament, and the only losses were in overtime at Minnesota and against Northwestern, when the

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North Carolina has 15 Electoral College votes. Here’s how it works.


One of the reasons North Carolina is being watched around the world in the run-up to the presidential election is because of its electoral votes.

Our state has 15 electoral votes, which can be enough to swing an election. The presidential ticket needs at least 270 electoral votes, a majority of the 538 total, to win. Because North Carolina is evenly-divided politically, whichever candidate wins the state has a good chance of winning the national election.

Here’s a guide to the Electoral College in North Carolina:

Is the Electoral College a place?

No. As the National Archives describes it, the Electoral College is “a process, not a place.” In North Carolina, the Secretary of State oversees the Electoral College meeting. Elaine Marshall holds that office currently.

Why do we have an Electoral College, and what does it do?

The Electoral College was included in the U.S. Constitution as a compromise between Congress electing the president and citizens electing the president. Instead of directly electing the president and vice president, voters actually vote for which candidate they want their state’s electors to vote for, and those electors in turn elect the president and vice president.

That is why a candidate can win the popular vote nationwide but not the election. In 2016, Hillary Clinton received nearly 2.9 million more votes than Donald Trump, but Trump won the election with 304 electoral votes.

So where do they vote?

In North Carolina, the Electoral College meets in the House chamber of the old State Capitol building in downtown Raleigh, according to state law.

When does the Electoral College vote?

This year the vote will take place Monday, Dec. 14. All Electoral College votes across the United States are cast on the same day.

Do people want to change the Electoral College process?

Yes, there have been many challenges to the process. But it can only change by Constitutional amendment because it is part of the U.S. Constitution.

How many electors does North Carolina have? Why?

North Carolina has 15 electors. That’s two electors for our two U.S. senators and 13 electors because that’s how many House seats we have in Congress. Each state gets two for its senators, and the rest correspond to the number of representatives.

Which party gets to vote for North Carolina?

Each political party on the presidential ballot chooses 15 electors, usually at its state convention. That means there are 15 Democrats, 15 Republicans and 15 each for the Green, Constitution and Libertarian parties who are in-waiting, along with alternates. Whichever political party’s candidate wins North Carolina, those electors are the ones who vote. Of the 15, two are chosen at-large and the other 13 are chosen from each of the state’s Congressional districts.

What is it like to be an elector?

Republican Susan Mills of Fayetteville is one of this year’s NCGOP electors. She is a high school family and consumer sciences teacher and has been involved in the Republican Party at the county, district and

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STMicroelectronics Works with Alifax on Rapid, Cost-Efficient Point-of-Care Medical Testing

T4295D — Oct 29 2020 — ST Alifax LoC coop for PCR tests_IMAGE

STMicroelectronics Works with Alifax on Rapid, Cost-Efficient
Point-of-Care Medical Testing

  • Alifax, a diagnostic-test producer, has customized biological content and reagents to detect pandemic-related genetic material and other viral (and bacterial) pathogens

  • ST Real-Time PCR molecular-diagnostics technology, using disposable chip-based cartridges, can be adapted to detect any genetic material

Geneva, Switzerland, and Padova, Italy, October 29, 2020 – STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, and Alifax S.r.l, a producer of clinical diagnostic instrumentation, have worked together on a rapid, cost-efficient portable solution that will be available from Alifax, for point-of-care molecular diagnostic detection using highly reliable real-time Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR) to amplify genetic material (RNA and DNA1) in patient samples.

Leveraging technology developed and licensed from ST, Alifax is manufacturing the Molecular Mouse, a small portable instrument that contains a broad range of ST components, including STM32 MCUs, sensors, amplifiers, and other devices. Connected to a PC, the Molecular Mouse uses medical reagents2 created by Alifax to manage the control and testing of multiple targets or samples on a tiny disposable cartridge, manufactured by ST using its high-volume Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) semiconductor process technology. Test results are available in less than hour.

“One crucial lesson from the current global pandemic is the importance of rapid, cost-efficient point-of-care testing that allows immediate remote diagnosis, and then, if necessary, patient isolation,” said Alessandro Cremonesi, Chief Innovation Officer, STMicroelectronics. “ST has been investing in its Real-Time PCR platform convinced that innovative semiconductor-based diagnostic solutions can positively impact our lives.

“Leveraging our high-volume semiconductor-manufacturing technology and long-term leadership in microfluidics, we’ve developed a rapidly customizable, highly flexible cartridge and instrumentation platform that delivers rapid and precise point-of-care diagnostic results, which Alifax has used to respond almost immediately to present pandemic and future diagnostic needs,” added Benedetto Vigna, President Analog MEMS, and Sensors Group, STMicroelectronics.

ST has demonstrated its efficacy and efficiency to scale reliable, high-volume manufacturing of semiconductors and its expertise in microfluidics for more than 25 years. Moreover, roughly 10 years of proven success in developing MEMS-based Real-Time PCR technologies has now culminated in a product generation that Alifax has rapidly adapted to address the current global pandemic.

“Building on our passion for research and excellence in innovation, Alifax has established its strength in hematology and bacteriology for diagnostic purposes. By working closely with ST and combining its foundational microfluidic and other technology in the Molecular Mouse and our pathogen-specific assays, starting from a COVID-19 test, we’re ready to contribute to rapidly diagnosing, isolating, and ultimately stopping the spread of pathogens,” said Paolo Galiano, President Alifax.

Certified to CE-IVD3 the Molecular Mouse, disposable test cartridges, and assays are available now from Alifax.

You can watch a video on Molecular Mouse at

Further Technical Information
With a footprint4 smaller than a smartphone, the Alifax Molecular Mouse can run real-time quantitative Polymerase

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Here’s how the Electoral College works in presidential elections

WASHINGTON — As vote tallies and exit polls start streaming in on election night, both presidential campaigns will ultimately be fixated on one number — 270, the total Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

Early voting turnout has shattered records nationwide heading into the final Nov. 3 showdown between Republican President Donald Trump and former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, but it’s not the national popular vote alone that guarantees victory.

In 2016, Trump lost the national popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes, but he prevailed by securing more Electoral College votes. In 2000, Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College by one elector to Republican George W. Bush. In total, five of the country’s 45 presidents did not win the popular vote but went on to win via the Electoral College.

Each presidential election provides Americans with the quadrennial reminder that the winner is ultimately decided through a centuries-old system that was developed by the Founding Fathers and enshrined in the Constitution.

Here’s a quick refresher:

What is the Electoral College?

The Electoral College has been described as a compromise between those framers of the Constitution who wanted Congress to select a president and those who wanted a popular vote to decide the presidency.

Under the current system, established in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, every four years a body of delegates that are appointed by state party officials, typically party leaders and loyalists, meet about a month after Election Day to cast votes that make the election results in their states official. This year the electors will meet in their respective states on Dec. 14.

There are 538 delegates — each state gets apportioned delegates based on the size of their congressional delegation. For example, New York with two senators and 27 U.S. House members has 29 electoral votes in play. The District of Columbia receives 3 electors. An absolute majority — 270 electoral votes — is needed to win.

Most states, with the exception of Maine and Nebraska, award all the electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote in their state. There have been several failed attempts to reform the system by those who argue it does not treat all voters equally, given the extra focus on swing state voters. Critics also note the system was devised in part not to give enslaved Blacks a full vote, only counting them as three-fifths of a person, until that standard was repealed by the 14th Amendment.

“The framers intended that the electors in the college would be more informed and intelligent than the average citizen,” said Paul Schumaker, a professor emeritus in political science at the University of Kansas. “They would consider only the most highly qualified candidates from throughout the country. They did that for the first 30

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Physicists made a superconductor that works at room temperature. It could one day give rise to high-speed floating trains.

When squeezed between two diamonds, a material made of carbon, sulfur, and hydrogen can become a superconductor. J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester

© J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester
When squeezed between two diamonds, a material made of carbon, sulfur, and hydrogen can become a superconductor. J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester

  • Superconductors are materials that effortlessly conduct electricity.
  • Until now, they’ve only worked at temperatures of minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • But researchers recently found a superconductor that works at ambient temperatures when under immense pressure. They’re now trying to make it work without that pressure.
  • Widespread superconductors could give rise to high-speed floating trains, super-powered computers, and very cheap electricity.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Superconductors – materials that transport electricity with no energy lost – have until now only worked at extremely cold temperatures, from about -100 degrees Fahrenheit to the near-absolute zero of space. But this month, that changed.


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In a study published October 14, a team of researchers described a superconductor they engineered, which works at 59 degrees Fahrenheit. The material is composed of carbon, sulfur, and hydrogen, so is appropriately called carbonaceous sulfur hydride.

Physicists had previously found that a combination of hydrogen and sulfur worked as a superconductor under intense pressure and at -94 degrees Fahrenheit. With the addition of carbon, the team was able to create a material that worked at a higher temperature.

Ranga Dias, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Rochester, told Business Insider that they did so by “chemically compressing instead of mechanically compressing” the material. In other words, they made a denser material by adding carbon and sulfur atoms into a pre-existing network of hydrogen atoms.

Equipment including a diamond anvil cell (blue box) and laser arrays are seen in the lab of Ranga Dias, a professor at the University of Rochester. J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester

© J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester
Equipment including a diamond anvil cell (blue box) and laser arrays are seen in the lab of Ranga Dias, a professor at the University of Rochester. J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester

So far, Dias said, his team has only been able to create tiny specks of the superconductor material, about the size of ink-jet particles. The specks are made under almost 40 million pounds per square inch of pressure, almost the pressure in Earth’s inner core. They only function as superconductors under that level of pressure, too. 

“Somebody can argue that, ‘so you went from one extreme to another extreme,'” Dias said.

However, he added, now that it’s clear a superconductor can function at room temperature, the researchers can start tinkering with their material to make it work at ordinary pressure levels. 

If they succeed, superconductors could become widespread – potentially causing dramatic advances in technology by making electricity faster, cheaper, and more powerful.

What a superconducting society would look like 

Video: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Probe Punched an Asteroid in the Name of Science (Time)

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Probe Punched an Asteroid in the Name of Science



Electrical currents are flows of electrons that move through materials. Electrons move through certain types of materials easily, including most metals. Materials that convey electricity more easily are called conductors. But electrons have a harder time moving through materials like rubber and wood, so

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NASA Works To Head Off Losing Too Much Osiris-Rex Asteroid Dust

NASA said Friday that its robotic spacecraft Osiris-Rex had succeeded in collecting a large sample of particles from the Bennu asteroid this week — but so much that it was leaking.

The team in charge of the probe is now working to quickly stow the remaining samples that would eventually be delivered back to Earth to provide key scientific insights.

“A substantial fraction of the required collected mass is seen escaping,” mission chief Dante Lauretta said in a phone briefing with journalists.

This NASA frame grab from a gif series captured by Osiris-Rex's camera on October 22, 2020 shows the sampler head on the spacecraft full of rocks and dust collected from the surface of the asteroid Bennu This NASA frame grab from a gif series captured by Osiris-Rex’s camera on October 22, 2020 shows the sampler head on the spacecraft full of rocks and dust collected from the surface of the asteroid Bennu Photo: NASA / Handout

Osiris-Rex is set to come home in September 2023, hopefully with the largest sample returned from space since the Apollo era, which will help unravel the origins of our solar system.

The probe is thought to have collected some 400 grams of fragments, far more than the minimum of 60 grams needed, Lauretta said.

But the lid for the collector at the end of the probe’s arm where the fragments are being stored has been slightly wedged open by larger rocks, creating a leak, the scientists suspect.

This NASA image shows an artist's rendering of the Osiris-Rex spacecraft descending to collect a sample of the surface of asteroid Bennu This NASA image shows an artist’s rendering of the Osiris-Rex spacecraft descending to collect a sample of the surface of asteroid Bennu Photo: University of Arizona/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Handout

Five to 10 grams have already been observed around the collection arm in a cloud remaining more or less in the surrounding area due to the microgravity environment which makes fragments behave like fluids.

“My big concern now is that the particles are escaping because we were almost a victim of our own success here,” Lauretta said.

As a result, a plan to carry out a mass measurement on Saturday has been cancelled since it could risk scattering further samples.

The task is now to reduce as much as possible the spacecraft’s activities and prepare to stow the material in a capsule on the probe as quickly as possible.

Is Osiris-Rex, launched more than four years ago, at risk of losing its treasure? The volume of the leak is not yet precisely known, but the experts seemed relatively confident that would not be the case.

“Bennu continues to surprise us with great science and also throwing a few curveballs,” Thomas Zurbuchen, a NASA associate administrator, said in a statement.

“And although we may have to move more quickly to stow the sample, it’s not a bad problem to have. We are so excited to see what appears to be an abundant sample that will inspire science for decades beyond this historic moment.”

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Navy’s New Hammerhead Mine – How This Defense Works

190607 n sb587 1209 gulf of thailand june 7, 2019 the avenger class mine countermeasures ship uss pioneer mcm 9 observes a controlled mine detonation while conducting a joint mine countermeasures exercise with the royal thai navy during cooperation afloat readiness and training carat thailand 2019 this year marks the 25th iteration of carat, a multinational exercise series designed to enhance us and partner navies' abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non traditional maritime security challenges in the indo pacific region us navy photo by mass communications specialist 2nd class corbin shea

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Corbin Shea

  • The U.S. Navy is reinvesting in sea mines as a means of harassing enemy ships and submarines.
  • The new Hammerhead mine will be placed by unmanned undersea vehicles where they could intercept enemy submarines.
  • Once the mine detects a passing enemy sub, it unleashes a homing torpedo to chase down its prey.

    The U.S. Navy is developing a new sea mine to make the lives of enemy submarines in wartime a lot trickier. The new Hammerhead mine is designed to lie in wait on the seabed floor, listening for the telltale signs of enemy submarines. Once a foe passes over, Hammerhead unleashes a homing torpedo that hunts down and destroys the offending sub.

    Laid in the path of enemy ships, sea mines can slow passage through vital areas or deny transit entirely. Sea mines are also difficult to detect, and the underwater explosions caused by their detonation can cause serious, sometimes fatal damage to a ship’s hull.

    ⚓️ You like badass boats. So do we. Let’s nerd out over them together.

    repair crews working on the uss tripoli during operation desert storm
    The damage done by an Iraqi sea mine to the amphibious ship USS Tripoli, 1991.

    HistoricalGetty Images

    Unglamorous and unmanned, mines don’t receive much publicity, but they’re also more effective than the general public is led to believe. Allied sea mines sank 266 Japanese merchant or naval vessels during World War II—all without endangering a single Allied sailor or airman. Three U.S. Navy warships, the cruiser USS Princeton, frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts, and the amphibious transport USS Tripoli, have been damaged by sea mines since the end of World War II.

    Now, faced with the prospect of naval warfare across the expanse of the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the U.S. Navy is preparing a new generation of sea mines to help box in Russian and Chinese Navy submarines. The new Hammerhead mine is a modular system consisting of a “capsule module (to include the effector), a mooring module, an energy module, a sensor module, a command, control, signal processing and decision module, and a communications module.” The capsule module includes a Mark (Mk.) 54 lightweight hybrid homing torpedo.

    140416 n vc599 408gulf of oman april 16, 2014 an exercise mk 54 mod 0 torpedo is launched from the arleigh burke class guided missile destroyer uss roosevelt ddg 80 roosevelt is deployed as part of the george h w bush carrier strike group supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the us 5th fleet area of responsibility us navy photo by mass communication specialist 2nd class justin wolpertreleased
    The heart of the Hammerhead mine is the Mk. 54 anti-submarine torpedo, depicted here in 2014 launching from the deck of the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt.

    MC2 Justin Wolpert/DVIDS

    The Navy plans for uncrewed underwater vehicles (XLUUV) such as the new Boeing Orca to plant Hammerhead mines in key locations. It could also deploy mines in key straits and passages, potential battlefields, and other locations.

    Here’s how Hammerhead works. After the XLUUV releases the Hammerhead, the mooring module anchors the mine to the seabed where it might wait days, weeks, or even months for the activation order. Once the command and control module receives the activation order, the sensor module quietly listens for the acoustic signature of approaching enemy submarines, running suspected underwater noises through the signal processing and decision module and

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