FORT BELVOIR, Va., 21 Nov. 2010. Engineers at the Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Systems segment in Melbourne Fla., will design and develop the Airborne Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Minefield Detection System (ASTAMIDS) Block I to detect and pinpoint enemy combat vehicles, soldiers, and minefields under terms of a $12.3 million U.S. Army contract awarded last week.
Formerly known as the Airborne Standoff Minefield Detection System -- part of the Army's Future Combat Systems program -- ASTAMIDS Block I will detect, locale and designate combat vehicles, systems, and troops, and to detect, characterize, and locate minefields and obstacles to locate and characterize non-mined areas and safe avenues. The sensor's primary function is to detect minefields in support of mobile ground military forces during the daytime and at night.
ASTAMIDS consists of two subsystems -- the airborne payload and the tactical ground segment. The airborne unit will operate on the RQ-8B Fire Scout class IV unmanned aerial vehicle. It uses quad-prism aperture-splitting technology with integrated illuminator, target laser rangefinder, and designator.
In 2005 the scope of the ASTAMIDS program was expanded adding reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition (RSTA) and target designation to its counter minefield primary role. The advanced change-detection algorithm will help detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other mines by processing the sensor's imagery.
ASTAMIDS consists of a 75-pound integrated, multi-sensor, electro-optical infrared/multi-spectral imaging payload to detect patterned surface mines, patterned recently buried mines, and randomly scattered mines. New capabilities will enable the payload to detect obstacles, combat vehicles, and camouflaged targets.
Northrop Grumman will do work on the current contract in Melbourne, Fla. Awarding the contract were officials of the Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Contracting Center Washington at Fort Belvoir, Va.