Cutting Edge Optronics has received a contract from the U.S. Navy for the continued production of the AN/AES-1Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS). The contract includes the production of five ALMDS pod subsystems, support equipment, spares, and technical support.
The ALMDS is mounted on an MH-60S helicopter. Flying over sea lanes, it finds and geolocates mine-like objects with its pulsed laser light and streak tube receivers by imaging, in 3-D, day or night, the near-surface of the ocean.
“This program is a win-win. The airborne sensor has the capability to keep our sailors out of the minefield and we are producing it while reducing the per-pod price over previous buys that helps enable the Navy to meet their cost targets,” said Doug Shaffer, director, electronic attack/maritime systems integration, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with the U.S. Navy on the ALMDS program and supporting initial operating capability in FY16.”
The Northrop Grumman ALMDS team is comprised of Areté Associates, Tucson, Ariz., which manufactures the receiver sensor assembly; Cutting Edge Optronics, a Northrop Grumman subsidiary in St. Charles, Mo., which manufactures the high-powered laser transmitter; CPI Aerostructures, Edgewood, manufacturer of the pod housing; Curtiss Wright Defense Solutions, Santa Clarita, Calif, manufacturer of the central electronics chassis; and Meggitt Defence Systems, Irvine, Calif., which produces the environmental control system.
Northrop Grumman has delivered 12 ALMDS pods to the U.S. Navy through four low rate initial production lots, and four pods to the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force which are currently undergoing integration and test aboard the EH-101 helicopter.