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AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS)

The AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) detects, classifies and localizes near-surface, moored sea mines, utilizing Streak Tube Imaging Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR). The ALMDS is integrated with the MH-60S helicopter to provide rapid, wide-area reconnaissance and assessment of mine threats in littoral zones, confined straits, choke points and amphibious objective areas. ALMDS will deploy either as part of a Mine Countermeasures Mission Package (MCM MP) on the Littoral Combat Ship or on other aviation-capable platforms, or may be shore-based as required to support fleet operations.

The ALMDS pod consists of nine sub-systems: central electronics chassis, laser transmitter unit, laser electrical unit, pod pressurization system, environmental control system, power distribution unit, four receiver sensor assemblies, hardware control unit and pod housing.

The pod is mechanically attached to the MH-60S with a standard Bomb Rack Unit 14 mount and electrically via a primary and auxiliary umbilical cable to the operator console. Connection from the system to the common console allows data generated by ALMDS to be displayed on the console and stored on a mass memory unit for post-mission analysis.
The U.S. Navy has a need to rapidly detect, classify, and localize near-surface moored sea mines for the self-protection of the Carrier Strike Group and Expeditionary Strike Group. This capability is particularly important in the littoral zones, confined straits, choke points, and the Amphibious Objective Area. Such a capability does not exist in the current mine countermeasures inventory. The ALMDS will satisfy this need and will be the first system to provide such a capability to the Navy. The system will provide significant coverage in the upper water volume and complement other mine countermeasures systems. In a combat escort role, the system will assist in providing minefield definition and permitting mine avoidance by fleet assets. ALMDS can provide an organic self-protection capability to the battle force.

ALMDS passed Milestone C in May 2005 and entered low-rate initial production. In 2012, ALMDS completed operational assessment on the Navy's MH-60S helicopter. In 2015, ALMDS completed testing with the MCM MP and achieved Initial Operational Capability in November 2016.
Point Of Contact
Office of Corporate Communication (SEA 00D)
Naval Sea Systems Command
Washington, D.C. 20376
General Characteristics
Primary Function: Detect, classify and localize near-surface, moored sea mines
Contractor: Northrop Grumman
Date Deployed: Initial operational capability achieved Nov. 18, 2016.
Last Update: 3 January 2019