Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force purchased four helicopter-mountable, laser mine detection systems to help protect its coastline and the daily maritime traffic coming in and out of the country’s ports. This is the first direct commercial sale of Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) to an international navy.
According to Northrop Grumman’s press statement, Donna Carson-Jelley, ALMDS programme manager for the US Navy said, “ALMDS will enable the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force to cover significant distances at the speed of flight using its MCH-101 aircraft. This technology dramatically compresses the time between mine detection and neutralisation.”
The laser based mine detection system utilises LiDAR technology to detect, classify and localise near-surface moored sea mines. With high area coverage rate capability, the system transmits a fan-shaped beam of laser light to establish its swath width, and then relies on the forward motion of the helicopter to sweep the light over the water in a “push broom” manner.
Four cameras are arranged to cover the same swath illuminated by the laser fan beam. As images are received by the system, an automatic target recognition algorithm picks out potential mine-like objects and stores their images for classification by shipboard Fleet operators, using computer-aided post-mission analysis tools.
Source: Northrop Grumman