Navy took delivery of the first Airborne Laser Mine Detection
System (ALMDS) pod developed and produced by Northrop Grumman
Corporation (NYSE: NOC). The ALMDS system is designed to operate
from the MH-60S helicopter, using a Laser Imaging Detection
and Ranging blue-green laser to detect, localize and classify
near surface, moored and floating sea mines. The U.S. Navy plans
to field up to 45 ALMDS systems between 2009 and 2018.
The ALMDS system is designed to operate from the MH-60S helicopter,
using a Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging blue-green laser
to detect, localize and classify near surface, moored and floating
According to A. Humes, U.S. Navy's mine warfare program manager,
ALMDS has no in-water components, contributing to faster sweeps,
shortening detection timeline and maximizing the helicopter's
time on station.
an important element of the mine warfare mission package designed
for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). LCS will host five airborne
mine countermeasures systems, developed to provide aircraft
carrier battle strike groups and expeditionary strike groups
with full-spectrum organic mine hunting and reconnaissance capability.
Northrop Grumman produced ALMDS under a $35.7 million contract
awarded in April 2006 for a low-rate initial production (LRIP)
of two AN/AES-1 ALMDS pods. Within few months (spring 2007)
the company plans to start producing two more pods following
developmental testing. The third LRIP contract and full rate
production are planned in 2009 and 2010 respectively for an
additional eleven pods. The Navy plans to buy 45 ALMDS pods
between now and 2018.