One of Northrop Grumman’s growing family of mine countermeasures has advanced to the flight-trial phase. The company installed the airborne surveillance, target acquisition and minefield detection system (ASTAMIDS) in a modified UH-1H Huey for its first flight, at Melbourne, Florida, on April 30, with the aim of achieving low-rate initial production next year.
ASTAMIDS is a multi-sensor system packaged into a lightweight airborne payload. It is primarily intended for carriage by the U.S. Army’s Northrop Grumman RQ-8B Fire Scout VTUAV. ASTAMIDS can spot patterns of surface or recently buried mines, as well as randomly scattered mines. It can also be used for the detection of other combat targets, such as camouflaged vehicles.
Northrop Grumman has three other mine countermeasure systems in development. The coastal battlefield reconnaissance and analysis system is in flight test for the U.S. Marine Corps, while the airborne laser mine detection system (ALMDS) is in low-rate production for the Navy. The rapid airborne mine clearance system (RAMICS) is a development that uses ALMDS data to aim a 30-mm cannon carried in an MH-60S Seahawk. RAMICS is in an early stage of testing.