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the detection and destruction of mines, a combat mission of minesweepers and specially assigned ships and helicopters whose task is to assure that warships and transports can navigate safely at sea, on lakes, and in rivers.
The location of minefields, the determination of the boundaries of minefields, and the verification that friendly ships can navigate safely in a particular region of the sea are preceded by reconnaissance or verification minesweeping. The first step in the elimination of minefields is the sweeping of the channels that are necessary for navigation. Mines that have floated to the surface are destroyed by gunfire or by using explosive charges. The sweeping of moored mines is called contact minesweeping, and the sweeping of bottom mines is called influence minesweeping. In contact minesweeping, ships tow the sweeps at a given depth; when mines are encountered, the ships tow them to shallow waters and cut the mooring lines—thus allowing the mines to float to the surface—or detonate the mines. In influence minesweeping the mine fuze is actuated by a magnetic field, a noisemaker, or both. In this case, the possibility that the mines may be equipped with various devices that make minesweeping difficult is taken into account.