EDO to develop very-shallow-water mine-neutralizer system

Published 25 October 2006

Defending shallow coastal waters against terrorists who would lay mines in order to disrupt commerce and inflict damage is becoming a big issue for the world navies; the U.S. Navy has its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, and a New York company now wins a contract to develop mine sweeping operations in support of the LCS project

Wading in the shallows. The U.S. Navy has awarded New York-based EDO Corporation (NYSE: EDO) a contract for engineering and technical support to develop and demonstrate a Very-Shallow-Water (VSW) Mine-Neutralizer concept. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract has a ceiling of $9.6 million over a five-year performance period. The contract calls for EDO to design a console and launcher for the neutralizer concept which will allow future integration with unmanned surface-vehicle applications on the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship. EDO will also test the system’s effectiveness in very shallow water and assist in evaluating test results. This includes demonstrating expendable mine-disposal systems, such as the AN/ASQ-232 Sea Fox, produced by Bremen, Germany-based ATLAS Elektronik. The Navy will then select a common expendable neutralizer for EDO to integrate into the final VSW system. “The threat of mines in shallow water is a serious concern in combat situations as well as homeland security,” said EDO’s CEO James Smith.

EDO employs 4,200 people worldwide. The company was founded in 1925 and had revenues of $648 million in 2005.

The U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program was launched in mid-2001. The Navy wanted to build a ship with a displacement of 500 to 600 tons. The LCS would have a draft of about three meters, an operational range of 4,000 nautical miles, and a maximum speed of 50-60 knots. The cost per ship might be at least $90 million. Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics submitted design concepts to the navy, and the two designs are quite different, although both satisfy the top level performance requirements and technical requirements of the LCS program. Both designs achieve sprint speeds of over 40 knots and long-range transit distances of over 3,500 miles. The Lockheed Martin design is a high-speed semi-planing monohull, while the General Dynamics design is a trimaran with a slender stabilized monohull.

-read more in this news release; for more on the Littoral Combat Ship program, see this Naval Technology Web site