The US Navy has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman for additional AN/AES-1 airborne laser mine detection systems (ALMDS).
Northrop will also manufacture five ALMDS pod subsystems and provide equipment, spares and technical support services.
Northrop Aerospace Systems electronic attack / maritime systems integration director Doug Shaffer said: "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."
The helicopter-mounted ALMDS is capable of rapidly locating surface and near-surface moored mines and deactivating them before they cause harm to military or commercial vessels.
Using pulsed laser light and streak tube receivers integrated in an external equipment pod, the system generates 3D images of the complete near-surface volume area of the sea.
Mainly aimed at assisting US and allied ships to counter underwater mines, it will serve as a major component of the littoral combat ship mine countermeasures mission package.
The Northrop ALMDS team consists of Areté Associates, Cutting Edge Optronics, CPI Aerostructures, Curtiss Wright Defense Solutions and Meggitt Defence Systems.
To date, the US Navy has received 12 pods as part of four low-rate initial production lots.
Northrop has also delivered four pods to the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force for integration on EH-101 helicopters.