A Self-Replicating Mine positions itself   The U.S.S. Defiant laying a minefield


The antimatter mine is a simple, no-frills weapon designed to be used in large numbers in order to restrict or deny an area of space to enemy forces. The simplest form of mine is the command model; this consists of a matter and antimatter charge held suspended in containment fields within a small case which also holds a communications mechanism. This type of mine would be deployed within the scan radius of a controlling vessel; the ship then monitors the area for the approach of enemy vessels, detonating a mine by remote control when an enemy vessel approached it. The Enterprise-D used such a minefield to force the surrender of a Cardassian fleet in the McAllister Nebula in 2369.

The most recent development in Federation mine technology is the cloaked-replicator mine developed by an engineering team on Deep Space Nine under Chief Miles O'Brien. At one meter in diameter this is one of the smallest mines in use by the Federation. Because of their size and replicator technology, it is easy to develop a large minefield. This type of minefield is exceptionally difficult to clear; the use of a cloaking system on the mines means that an enemy can never be sure that every mine has been destroyed in a weapons barrage. Should only a handful survive to destroy another target, hundreds or even thousands more mines are quickly replicated and the field can be back up to full strength within hours. Such a minefield was deployed at the Bajoran Wormhole to block access by Dominion forces, triggering the Federation-Dominion war. The Dominion forces which captured DS9 at the outbreak of the war struggled several months to disable the minefield without success.