Northrop Grumman Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) takes next step to deployment

MELBOURNE, Fla. – The U.S. Navy’s AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS), designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman Corp., is taking another step toward deployment, as the Navy announced initial operational capability (IOC) for the system earlier this month.

By Mil & Aero staff
By Mil & Aero staff

MELBOURNE, Fla. – The U.S. Navy’s AN/AES-1 AirborneLaserMine Detection System (ALMDS), designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman Corp., is taking another step toward deployment, as the Navy announced initial operational capability (IOC) for the system earlier this month.

ALMDS provides rapid wide-area reconnaissance and assessment of mine threats in sea lanes, littoral zones, confined straits, choke points and amphibious areas of operations.

IOC means the ALMDS is available in its minimum usefully deployable form. Northrop Grumman will continue perfecting the system, which will be considered deployable when Navy officials give it full operational capability.

“With Initial Operational Capability, the ALMDS program has delivered an and important capability to the Navy and to our nation -- the first of its kind for mine warfare,” says Erik Maskelony, the Navy's assistant ALMDS program manager.

The ALMDS uses a sensor pod to sweep the water rapidly using laser technology. The sensor pod also can be installed rapidly on a medium-lift helicopter and quickly removed after the mission. This system’s detection speed and accuracy will improve the Navy mine detection capabilities.

Related: Navy's laser-based Airborne Laser Mine Detection System enters final development before full-scale production

The ALMDS blue-green lasers can penetrate the water for several feet to detect, classify, and localize near-surface moored sea mines, says Mark Skinner, Northrop Grumman's vice president of directed energy. "Accurate in day or night operations, the untethered ALMDS sensor conducts rapid wide-area searches with high accuracy,” Skinner says.

The target data generated by ALMDS shows on a console aboard the helicopter and is stored for post-mission analysis. The Navy’s ALMDS can be installed on the MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, and its self-contained design enables the system to be installed on other aircraft types.

Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman integrated and demonstrated ALMDS on a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. The first international sale of ALMDS occurred in 2012 to the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), and the JMSDF has completed flight qualification testing of ALMDS on an MCH-101 helicopter.

For more information contact Northrop Grumman online at www.northropgrumman.com.

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