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A minelayer, or mine launcher, was a weapon system mounted on a vehicle and used to lay mines. When fitted on spaceships (often ships dedicated to this role and dubbed minelayers), such systems deployed space mines.
The minelayer was used to launch or drop a mine which could later be armed via a timer or remote control. Under certain pre-defined circumstances, often the proximity of an enemy, the mine would then automatically detonate, with the minelaying craft at a safe distance.