The US Navys ALMDS

U.S. Navy’s ALMDS Achieves Initial Operational Capability

Jan. 19, 2017
A laser-based system arms the U.S. Navy with enhanced mine-detection capabilities.

The U.S. Navy’s AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS)—which uses laser technology to provide wide-area reconnaissance and assessment of mine threats in sea lanes—has passed flight capability testing, dramatically improving the Navy’s mine detection capabilities at sea. The ALMDS (see photo), which is designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman Corp. uses a laser-based sensor pod to rapidly sweep water lanes. The sensor pod can be rapidly installed on a medium-lift helicopter and quickly removed after mission completion.

 “Using forward motion of the aircraft, ALMDS’ pulsed laser light generates 3D images of the near-surface volume to detect, classify, and localize near-surface moored sea mines,” explained Mark Skinner, vice president for directed energy at Northrop Grumman. The system is accurate during day and at night, enabling wide-area searches with high accuracy.

Target data can be displayed on a console and stored for post-mission analysis. The ALMDS design has been demonstrated on a UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter, but its self-contained architecture allows it to be used on a wide range of other aircraft.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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