NWI - Naval Warfare

Northrop Grumman makes early delivery of Mine Detection System

11th January 2010 - 18:18 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Northrop Grumman Corporation delivered the first Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Phase 2 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) to the US Navy more than six weeks ahead of schedule.

Mounted on a helicopter, ALMDS rapidly detects and locates surface and near-surface moored mines so they can be neutralized before they can damage US and allied military and commercial ships.

Northrop Grumman is delivering three ALMDS systems under the LRIP Phase 2 contract awarded in March 2008. The first system, accepted by the Navy on Dec. 16, 2009, had been scheduled for delivery on Jan. 31, 2010. The Navy already has two ALMDS systems produced under LRIP Phase 1.

"Mines are an inexpensive threat, deployable by terrorists and rogue states, to international shipping and access assurance by our military vessels. Both our customer and industry team saw the need to counter that threat as rapidly as possible," said Bob Klein, vice president, Northrop Grumman Maritime and Tactical Systems. "Mines are also a threat to the sailors who must neutralize them. Northrop Grumman's ALMDS, particularly when coupled with our mine clearance system, will not only address the threat but keep the sailor out of the minefield."

ALMDS, mounted on the port side of an MH-60 helicopter, uses pulsed laser light and streak tube receivers housed in an external equipment pod to image the entire near-surface volume area of the sea in 3-D. The ALMDS is capable of day or night operations.

Eventually, ALMDS will be coupled with Northrop Grumman's Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS), which is in development. RAMICS will take the mine location information from ALMDS, relocate and then neutralize the mine with its 30 mm gun. It also operates from a helicopter.

Northrop Grumman, which developed and produces the ALMDS at its Melbourne, Fla., facility, was able to make the early deliveries with the teamwork of the government PEO Littoral & Mine Warfare (PMS 495 Mine Warfare Program Office); the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, Fla.; the Defense Contracting Management Activity, Melbourne, Fla.; and, its subcontractor teammates, including: Arete Associates, Tucson, Ariz. which manufactures the Receiver Sensor Assembly; Cutting Edge Optronics (CEO), a Northrop Grumman subsidiary in St. Charles, Mo., which manufactures the high-powered laser transmitter; CPI Aero, Edgewood, N.Y., manufacturer of the pod housing; Curtiss Wright/DY4, San Diego, manufacturer of the central electronics chassis; Meggitt Defense Systems, Irvine, Calif., which produces the environmental control system.

Northrop Grumman's Melbourne facility is the company's Center of Excellence for Airborne Mine Countermeasures and is currently under contract for the development or manufacture of the Department of Defense's four Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) sensor programs.

Source: Northrop Grumman

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