In the trenchesNorthrop Grumman delivers mine detection pods ahead of schedule

Published 29 April 2010

Here are words you do not read every day: a government defense contractor delivers what it was contracted for ahead of schedule; this is what Northrop Grumman did, delivering the mine detection system it has developed for the U.S. Navy three weeks ahead of schedule

Good news for American sailors at sea. Northrop Grumman Corporation delivered, ahead of schedule, all Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lot 2 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) pods to the U.S. Navy.

The last of the three ALMDS LRIP lot 2 pods was accepted by the navy on 11 March. The company delivered the pods approximately three weeks ahead of schedule, on average. The company and the navy are in the final stages of submitting the LRIP lot 3 production contract.

The Northrop Grumman contractor team and our Navy partners are working hard to get these systems into the fleet as quickly as possible,” said Dan Chang, vice president of Northrop Grumman Maritime and Tactical Systems. “ALMDS and the Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS) are critical tools with demonstrated technologies for getting our warfighters out of minefields. These two programs are key to the fielding of the entire mine detection and destruction capability to our warfighters.”

Mounted on the left side of an MH-60 helicopter, ALMDS rapidly detects and locates floating and submerged mines so they can be neutralized before they can damage U.S. and allied military and commercial ships. The system uses pulsed laser light and streak tube receivers housed in an external equipment pod to image the entire near-surface volume area of the sea in 3-D. The ALMDS is capable of day or night operations.

The company says that eventually, ALMDS will be coupled with Northrop Grumman’s Rapid Airborne Mine Clearing System (RAMICS), which is now in development. RAMICS, also operating from an MH-60S helicopter, will take the mine location information from ALMDS, relocate the mine, and then neutralize the mine with its 30 mm gun. Both of these systems are an integral part of the Mine Counter Measures (MCM) Mission Package, which will be deployed on the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). Northrop Grumman is also the LCS Mission package integrator for the Navy.