Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force selects ALMDS
Northrop Grumman has announced that the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has purchased four of its Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) to help protect its coastline and the daily maritime traffic coming in and out of the country's ports. According to the company, this marks the first direct commercial sale of Northrop Grumman's helicopter-mountable, laser mine detection system to an international navy.
The mine detection system is laser-based and utilises streak tube imaging light detection and ranging (LIDAR) to detect, classify and localise near-surface moored sea mines. With high area coverage rate capability, the system transmits a fan-shaped beam of laser light to establish its swath width, and then relies on the forward motion of the helicopter to sweep the light over the water in a ‘push broom’ manner.
Four cameras are arranged to cover the same swath illuminated by the laser fan beam. As images are received by the system, an automatic target recognition algorithm picks out potential mine-like objects and stores their images for classification by shipboard Fleet operators, using computer-aided post-mission analysis tools.
Originally developed for the US Navy, the addition of ALMDS to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force mine countermeasures suite of solutions provides them with significantly enhanced mine detection capability, according to Northrop Grumman. It will also improve the exchange of information between the US Navy and JMSDF during allied operations.
The company said it is working closely with its industry partners Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Fujitsu Limited on the delivery and installation of ALMDS.
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