Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Navy awaits laser minesweeping

Sweeping along at 60 knots, a Navy helicopter equipped with a blue-green laser will soon be able to detect mines in water deeper than 40 feet.

Using data collected during the sweep, the helicopter will return to the area and use a second, more focused laser to zero in on the mines, then destroy them with specially designed 30-millimeter supercavitating bullets.

The new Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) and its companion Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS) promise to dramatically speed up mine detection and clearing of floating and near-surface mines, and at the same time make the process safer.

“This takes the man out of the minefield,” said Gary Humes, program manager in the Navy’s mine warfare program office. “It’s a capability we do not have today at all.”

Read the rest at Marine Corps Times