Navy [has] a 90-day window to
decide whether or not they’re going
to go to operational evaluation in
late June/early July of this year.”
The Raytheon-built Airborne
Mine-Neutralization System (AMNS)
is designed to be towed in the water
by an MH-60S. Its AQS-20A sonar
deploys to detect bottom mines and
its four self-propelled expendable
Archerfish vehicles, built by BAE
Systems, can be launched to destroy
or disable mines. The AMNS is in
low-rate production, with 12 systems
under contract and an option for five
more. The Navy plans to buy a total
of 41 AMNS units — 24 for opera-
tions and 17 for training.
The AQS-20A also is designed
to be towed by the MH-60S, independent of the AMNS. Operational
testing of the sonar on the MH-
60S was to begin in April. The
The Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep
(OASIS) system, also towed by the MH-60S, is designed to
detonate mines by simulating the magnetic and acoustic
signature of a passing ship. The EDO Corp.-built OASIS is
now in developmental testing and the Navy is preparing it
for integration testing on the MH-60S in the summer.
Funding has been stopped for the Northrop
Grumman-built AWS- 2 Rapid Airborne Mine-Clearance System (RAMICS), built around a 30mm
Bushmaster cannon installed in the MH-60S and
designed to reacquire and disable or destroy surface
and near-surface mines with supercavitating rounds.
“There were some technical issues,” said Checcia, who
also is Northrop Grumman’s engineering program manager for RAMICS. “We were in the process of demonstrating
its capability as a sensor and a reacquisition system. Then
they ran into a whole host of problems integrating the gun
subsystem on the MH-60S helicopter and ended up having
a large schedule delay caused by just trying to work out
the testing schedule for the gun on the helicopter.
“We got to a certain point on the sensor piece,
showing that it could reacquire. We did have some
technical difficulties getting there and we had some
work left to do when the decision was made to unfund
RAMICS for [fiscal 2011],” he said.
Pandolfe said the Navy was looking at an alternate
for RAMICS — adapting the AMNS with the capability
to neutralize surface and near-surface mines.
The mast of the Remote Multimission Vehicle, part of the Littoral Combat Ship
(LCS) mine countermeasures (MCM) mission package, is visible trailing the
Office of Naval Research vessel Seafighter during underwater operations off
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Oct. 2. The MCM mission package provides LCS plat-
forms the capability to detect, identify and neutralize sea mines. Seafighter
acted as a surrogate for the LCS platform during the operations.
The SUW package’s aviation detachment includes
the MH-60S helicopter armed with Hellfire missiles
and machine guns.
Two more SUW mission packages are scheduled for
delivery in 2012. The Navy plans to field a total of 24
SUW packages for the 55 planned LCSs, all for operational use, Ailes said. The number does not include the
engineering development model built at Naval Surface
Warfare Center Dahlgren, Va.
The MCM mission package also is scheduled to reach
initial operational capability in 2013. Two modules were
delivered in 2007 and 2009, with a third scheduled for
2012. A total of 24 MCM packages were planned.
Some of its modules are in production, while others
are being switched for other options. Five of its modules are designed to be flown in the Block II version of
the MH-60S Seahawk.
The Northrop Grumman-built Airborne Laser Mine-Detection System (ALMDS), with which the helicopter
scans the ocean for surface and near-surface mines, is in
low-rate production, with nine systems delivered and
three more planned for 2011. The total planned is 38 systems, 24 for operational use and 14 for training.
Full-rate production would be next for ALMDS, said
Bill Checcia, engineering program manager for ALMDS
at Northrop Grumman.
“We have just recently completed [integration testing],
which is the new name for the old ‘Tech Eval,’” Checcia
said, speaking of the testing completed March 18. “The