The US Navy has received the first airborne laser mine detection system (ALMDS) from Northrop Grumman.
The ALMDS is a helicopter-mounted system that can quickly locate surface and near-surface moored mines and neutralise them before they can damage military or commercial ships.
The system uses pulsed laser light and streak tube receivers housed in an external equipment pod to produce images of the entire near-surface volume area of the sea in 3D.
Northrop Grumman's rapid airborne mine clearance system, which is currently under development, will take the mine location information from ALMDS, relocate and then neutralise the mine with its 30mm gun.
Northrop Grumman Maritime and Tactical Systems vice-president Bob Klein said the ALMDS, particularly when coupled with other mine clearance system, will not only address the threat but keep sailors out of the minefield.
In March 2008, Northrop Grumman received a phase 2 contract to deliver three ALMDS systems while the navy already has two ALMDS systems produced under phase 1 contract.