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Navy Takes Delivery of Airborne Laser Mine Detection System

File photo. The ALMDS is mounted to the helipcopter on the left hnd side.
by Landon Hutchens
Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs
Washington (AFNS) Feb 02, 2007
Navy officials observed the roll-out of the first low-rate initial production unit of the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) in an official ceremony at Northrop Grumman Corporation and Integrated Systems Division's, Melbourne, Fla., facility on Jan. 26. "This milestone represents an important step forward as we are now delivering the next generation in mine countermeasures technology," said Gary A. Humes, program manager, Mine Warfare Program Office in Program Executive Office Littoral and Mine Warfare (PEO LMW).

"Because ALMDS has no in-water components, it will help shorten the detection timeline and maximize the helicopter's time on station, thereby providing the maneuvering force with essential capability to dominate the complex, high-operational tempo environment of the littorals."

Operating from the MH-60S helicopter, ALMDS uses a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) blue-green laser mounted in a pod to detect, localize and classify near surface moored and floating sea mines. ALMDS provides a new capability to the mine warfare (MIW) mission package designed for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). Because it is mounted on a helicopter, the system can cover a larger amount of sea space in a shorter time frame.

Scheduled for delivery this year, the LCS will host five airborne mine countermeasures systems, developed to provide aircraft carrier strike groups and expeditionary strike groups with full-spectrum organic mine hunting and neutralization capability. ALMDS, along with other planned sensor systems, will allow the LCS to provide the springboard for revolutionary new organic mine warfare capabilities that provide better, quicker, and safer performance.

"By leveraging new technology and having mine detection and neutralization systems organic to the fleet, we can take the Sailor out of the minefield and have these system ready, on-call within the Navy's expeditionary strike groups and aircraft carrier strike groups," said Capt. Joe Spitz, deputy program manager, Mine Warfare Program Office, PEO LMW.

ALMDS will help shorten the detect-to-engagement timeline and maximize the MH-60S helicopter's time on station. Shrinking this time is a giant step toward the fleet's goal of avoiding minefields during transit and assuring access in the littorals to support operational maneuver from the sea.

ALMDS is also being considered for anti-submarine warfare applications.

The delivery is a result of an initial $35.7 million contract awarded in April 2006 for a low-rate initial production (LRIP) of two AN/AES-1 ALMDS pods. A second LRIP contract is planned to start this spring for an additional two 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 ALMDS program is managed by PEO LMW, Mine Warfare Program Office, PMS-495. The Navy plans to buy 45 ALMDS pods between now and 2018. The overall program is valued at approximately $255 million.

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Jointness Key To Future Of Military Medicine
Washington (SPX) Feb 02, 2007
As the military health care system transforms its governance structure, the services must work together to sustain the high quality of care servicemembers and their families receive, a top Defense Department official said here yesterday.

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