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10 Apr 03. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE:NOC – News) Integrated Systems sector has been awarded a four-year, $41.8m contract by the U.S. Army’s Communications and Electronics Command to develop and demonstrate the Army’s Airborne Standoff Mine Detection System (ASTAMIDS). The new system will use a variety of airborne sensors to detect and locate recently buried, scattered or surface-laid mines and obstacles on the battlefield.

“This award marks the fourth major airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM) program secured by Integrated Systems in the past three years,” said Alan Doshier, vice president for sector’s Airborne Ground Surveillance and Battle Management (AGS&BM) Systems business area in Melbourne. “Working on programs such as ASTAMIDS, the Army’s premier counter-mine sensor program, has helped establish Northrop Grumman as an AMCM center of excellence for the aerospace industry.” The company’s AMCM work includes contracts with Army, U.S. Navy and Marine customers, he added. According to John Casko, director of the company’s AMCM program, the ASTAMIDS success can be largely attributed to the use of integrated product teams (IPT). “The AMCM IPT has established teams with leading experts in selected sensor technologies,” he noted. “Using recognized subject and system experts in our IPT approach creates an effective partnership between the company and the Department of Defense, which allows us to deliver the most effective, best-valued capability to the warfighter.”

Northrop Grumman’s AGS&BM entered the AMCM market in 2000 by winning the Navy’s Airborne Laser Mine Detection (ALMDS) program. (See U.S. NAVY INITIATES KEY ANTI-MINE EFFORTS, BATTLESPACE NEWS, Volume 5, Issue 7&8, September/October 2002). In 2001, it secured the Marine Corps Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance & Analysis program, a passive, multispectral imaging (MSI) sensor system used to detect minefield patterns and obstacles in the surface layers of the beach exit zone. In 2002, the company was awarded the Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS), the Navy’s second organic AMCM program. RAMICS uses a laser re-acquisition capability and a standoff mine neutralization 30mm Bushmaster II weapon to destroy near surface or moored mines.

Northrop Grumman’s ASTAMIDS design incorporates a combined advanced electro-optical/infrared sensor currently being demonstrated by L-3 Communications, (formerly WESCAM), Healdsburg, Calif., and a next-generation Quad Prism Aperture Splitting MSI sensor being developed by Science and Engineering Associates, Inc., San Diego, Calif. This multisensor design will be integrated into L-3 Communication’s step-stare gimbal and installed aboard an Army unmanned aerial vehicle. Other key members of the Northrop Grumman team include Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, Arlington, Va.; Arete Associates, Niceville, Fla.; and PAR Government Systems Corporation, La Jolla, Calif., which are jointly contributing to an innovative multi-algorithm combined approach. Burdeshaw Associates, Ltd. of Bethesda, Md., provides operational expertise and an integral understanding of how ASTAMIDS will support the Army’s evolving assured mobility concept of operations to support the objective force maneuver. AAI of Hunt Valley, Md., will support the program with UAV integration and test support. Log.Sec Corporation of Warrenton, Va., will provide integrated logistics expertise and L-3 Communications, Salt Lake City, Utah, will supply the communications support for the tactical control data link.

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