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Advanced Sea Mine Electro-Optic (EO) Detection and Identification Systems


Organic mine countermeasures (MCM) gives naval and marine units the ability to detect, characterize, and neutralize mines using their own assets. Areté Associates has developed a suite of highly capable STIL based EO sensor systems for the US Navy and Marines to fill the gaps in organic mine countermeasures (MCM) capabilities. Areté’s airborne and underwater MCM sensors are key to enabling operational maneuverability from the ship to the objective.

Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS)

Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield demonstrated the need for minehunting systems as an integral element of deployed forces. As a result, the Navy began developing a suite of five airborne mine countermeasure systems to negate the identified threat. One of the systems, the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS), is a mine countermeasure that is intended to detect, classify, and localize floating and near-surface moored sea mines. The Navy will deploy the ALMDS on MH-60S helicopters to provide organic airborne mine defense for Carrier Battle Groups (Carrier Groups), and Amphibious Ready Groups (Amphibious Groups). The Navy will use this capability in littoral zones, confined straits, choke points, and the amphibious objective area. Areté Associates is contracted with Northrop Grumman to provide the STIL sensor for the ALMDS system. The STIL sensor detects sea surface and near sea surface volume mines that the AN/AQS-20X system is not designed to detect. The ALMDS is portable and transferable and represents a capability that does not exist in the Navy’s mine countermeasure inventory.

(AQS-20A) Electro-Optics Identification (EOID) System

The AQS-20A system is an integrated acoustic/electro-optic sensor system on a towed body platform. This system provides a MCM capability against volume and bottom mines in shallow waters at depths that exceed 450 ft. The acoustic sensor provides long range detection/localization of sea mines, and the STIL-based electro-optic system provides very high resolution 3-D images at short ranges for positive mine identification. The STIL sensor component (called EOID) is approximately 15” diameter by 10” long, and it occupies a 19 inch section in the AQS-20 towed vehicle.

(MRUUV) Mission Reconfigurable Unmanned Undersea Vehicle

The Navy and Marines need an organic capability for rapid clandestine surveillance and reconnaissance of mine fields and obstacles in the challenging littoral environments. Areté Associates is developing a highly capable STIL-based EOID sensor for the MRUUV vehicle, which will be used for autonomous reconnaissance and wide area surveillance of mines and minefields. This EOID sensor is essential in the development of an autonomous mine identification and neutralization capability in the littorals. Areté is dedicated to the development of advanced autonomous EOID sensors and algorithms that will make these goals a reality.

Electro-Optics Identification (EOID) System

The Electro-Optics Identification (EOID) System is an early prototype 3-D imaging LIDAR system packaged for deployment in an underwater vehicle. This system provided high resolution range and contrast images of underwater targets. The purpose of the EOID program was to demonstrate the efficacy of electro-optic identification as an augmenting senor to on-board sonar system in mine detection systems. The STIL based EOID system was deployed along with two other laser line scanner systems to verify performance goals. Initial integration and testing were successfully conducted in July and August 2001.


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