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US Navy awards $45 mln contract to Northrop Grumman

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Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS). Photo: Northrop Grumman Corporation.

BETHPAGE, NEW YORK (BNS): US Navy has awarded a $45 million worth contract to Northrop Grumman Corporation for Phase 3 of low-rate initial production of the AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS).

The contract includes the production of four pods, spares, product development and support at a lower cost-per-pod than in previous lots.

The ALMDS pod is mounted on an MH-60S helicopter. Flying over sea lanes, it spots mines with its pulsed laser light and streak tube receivers by imaging, in 3-D, day or night, the near-surface of the ocean.

"We are confident that Developmental Flight Test-IIE (DT-IIE) results will prove the unique threat detection value and performance of our ALMDS," Northrop Grumman's Dan Chang, vice president of Maritime and Tactical Systems, was quoted as saying in a company news release.

The company has delivered five pods to date. The Navy is performing the DT-IIE programme from its Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division site in Florida. These tests lead towards Operational Evaluation and the full-rate production decision next year.

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