Lockheed Receives $76.6M for MH-60S’ New Airborne Anti-Mine Systems
Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Oswego in Oswego, NY received a $76.6 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract in support of Phase II of the MH-60S‘ Airborne Mine Countermeasures System’s (AMCM) Development and Demonstration process. This initiative involves the use of the new MH-60 Seahawk helicopter outfitted with new AMCM systems:
- The Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (AES-1 ALMDS)
- AN/AQS-20 mine hunting sonar, towed by the WLD-1 UUV.
- Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep (OASIS). Long, thin, 10 foot long towed “fish” that can mimic the acoustic or magnetic signatures of a variety of US ships. If there are mines in the area programmed to detonate on that basis, it should set them off. Good for doing fast minesweeping.
- The Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS), coupling sensors with a 30mm cannon. The cannon rounds are “supercavitating”, which means they ride inside a bubble of gas that lets them move through the water at high velocity to hit and destroy underwater mines.
- Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS). Small towed vehicle that acquires mines via sonar, then fires a shaped charge into them. The towed vehicle is expendable. Good for disposing of found mines at a safe distance, when this can’t be accomplished easily by other methods.
Work will be performed in Oswego, NY, and is expected to be complete in March 2010. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-05-C-0048).
These systems will offer more speed and agility in addressing a mine threat, and will be carried by US vessels including the new Littoral Combat Ships.
Fitting all five AMCM systems into a roll-on/roll-off mission kit for the MH-60S requires a few key elements:
- The MH-60S Common Console; Carriage, Stream, Tow and Recovery System (CSTRS). The Common Console is common to all five AMCM systems as well as the other MH-60S missions and provides for control, monitor and display of the AMCM system.
- Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL). TCDL will provide a high-bandwidth, near-real time sensor data link with a relay capability to pass data to the mine warfare commander.
- DC Military (April 19/01) – MH-60S fitted for airborne mine countermeasures. Good overview of each system.
- AMCM: Heliborne Mine Countermeasures. An enthusiast site, but a very good one which details each system above on its own page. The related pages to other US MCM systems assist with context and perspective.
- Arete Associates – Advanced Sea Mine Electro-Optic (EO) Detection and Identification Systems (includes diagrams). They’re a program participant.
- Northrop Grumman (March 11/09) – Northrop Grumman-Navy Team Exceeds Expectations During Mine-Clearing Weapon Test
- US Navy League, Sea Power Magazine (August 2005) – New Mine Countermeasure System Designs Are Hitting the Water
- US Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Expeditionary Warfare Division (N75) – U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Plan, Fourth Edition. See also their Mine Warfare mini-site.
- US Naval Institute, Proceedings Magazine (May 2003) – Mine Countermeasures a Success covers successful mine countermeasures operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.