U.S. Navy deploys its new Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS)
for the first time
The U.S. Navy has forward deployed the Airborne Laser Mine Detection
System (ALMDS) to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR). ALMDS
is a sensor system designed to detect, classify and localize floating
and near-surface moored mines. Operated from the MH-60S helicopter,
ALMDS provides rapid wide-area reconnaissance and assessment of mine
threats in littoral zones, confined straits, and choke points.
NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN (Aug. 4, 2014) An MH-60S Sea
Hawk helicopter from the Laser Hawks of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron
(HSC) 26, Detachment 2, equipped with the Airborne Laser Mine Detection
System (ALMDS) conducts flight operations. Operated from the MH-60S
helicopter, ALMDS provides rapid wide-area reconnaissance and assessment
of mine threats in littoral zones, confined straits, and choke points.
The Laser Hawks began the operational testing and demonstration of ALMDS
in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on the system's maiden
deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class
Sailors from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC)
26, Detachment 2, Laser Hawks, began the operational testing and demonstration
of ALMDS in 5th Fleet on the system's maiden deployment August 4.
"The U.S. Fifth Fleet is focused on reducing the threat posed by
sea-based mines in the region should that be necessary and the presence
of ALMDS here in the theater adds to our capacity to do just that,"
said Vice Adm. John W. Miller, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central
Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces. "The international
community has a critical shared interest in the free flow of commerce
in this region. ALMDS, along with the many other counter-mine systems
we operate in the Fifth Fleet allows the Navy to keep the sea lanes
"It's a laser-driven system that works like radar," said Lt.
Cmdr. Theodore Lemerande, officer in charge of Laser Hawks. "It
beams a laser down into the water and picks up reflections from anything
it bounces off of. The system then registers the returned information
and uses that data to produce a video image in order for technicians
on the ground to determine what the object is."
The Navy's largest helicopter, the MH-53E Sea Dragon, has been a critical
component of the Navy's ability to perform the airborne countermine
mission in the Fifth Fleet and elsewhere for many years. ALMDS expands
the countermine mission to smaller MH-60S helicopters.
"MH-60Ss have traditionally been a platform for anti-surface warfare,
combat support, humanitarian disaster relief, combat search and rescue,
aero-medical evacuation, and special warfare," said Lemerande.
"ALMDS allows us to take airborne mine countermeasures technology
to these smaller helicopters that can fly from smaller ships allowing
us to take mine countermeasures into places that may not have been accessible