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U.S. Navy's ALMDS reaches initial operating capability

By
Ryan Maass
The U.S. Navy's AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System is designed to identify naval threats in sea lanes and littoral zones. Pictured: An AN/AES-1 ALMDS pod integrated with an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter. Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman
The U.S. Navy's AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System is designed to identify naval threats in sea lanes and littoral zones. Pictured: An AN/AES-1 ALMDS pod integrated with an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter. Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman

MELBOURNE, Fla., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman's AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System has achieved initial operational capability with the U.S. Navy.

The Airborne Laser Mine Detection System, or ALMDS, is a sensor pod manufactured by Northrop Grumman to improve mine detection capabilities for naval platforms. Company officials say the delivery of the system will make Navy personnel safer during deployment.

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"With Initial Operational Capability, the ALMDS program has delivered a new and important capability to the Navy and to our nation -- the first of its kind for mine warfare," assistant program manager Erik Maskelony said in a press release.

The ALMDS is a sensor pod designed to integrate with naval-deployed rotary-wing aircraft. The pod uses laser technology to scan and detect naval mines.

"Using forward motion of the aircraft, ALMDS' pulsed laser light generates 3-D images of the near-surface volume to detect, classify and localize near-surface moored sea mines," Northrop Grumman directed energy vice president Mark Skinner added. "Highly accurate in day or night operations, the untethered ALMDS sensor conducts rapid wide-area searches with high accuracy."

The product has been demonstrated on a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter in addition to an MH-60 Seahawk, but can be installed on other aircraft types.

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