Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a three-year, $36.9 million contract to develop a Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS) for the US Navy to protect the fleet from near-surface and floating mines.
RAMICS is a non-towed airborne mine neutralisation system designed to operate from a MH-60S Organic Airborne Mine Countermeasure helicopter.
It will, according to Northrop Grumman, provide a rapid response clearance capability against near-surface and surface moored mines that have been detected, classified and localised by Northrop Grumman’s Airborne Laser Mine Detection System or other mine hunting systems.
RAMICS is said to use an electro-optic light detecting and ranging system to acquire a target and aim the gun subsystem.
The 30mm MK44 gun uses a MK 258 Mod 1 armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot tracer. The projectile is stable during air flight, successfully penetrates the water’s surface, supercavitating while in the water to reduce drag and improve underwater flight performance.
RAMICS will be capable of neutralising near-surface and surface-moored mines in shallow water, which is defined by Northrop Grumman as 40 to 300 feet total water depth, and in deepwater, which is defined as any depth greater than 300 feet.