US Navy tackles offshore mine threat

Lockheed Martin has been awarded $13 million to produce seven remotely operated AN/AQS-232 Airborne Mine Neutralisation Systems (AMNS) for the US Navy.

The US Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin a $13 million contract for seven AN/AQS-232 Airborne Mine Neutralisation Systems (AMNS) for MH-53E helicopters.

The contract includes support equipment, shipboard containers, training and minor engineering changes. Work is scheduled to be completed by early 2004.

AMNS is an expendable, remotely operated mine neutralisation device, deployed from MH-53E helicopters, to provide identification and neutralisation of mines laid at sea.

A primary component of AMNS, the SEAFOX unmanned underwater vehicle, is provided by STN-Atlas. Because it is designed to be operated from helicopters, the AMNS provides the Navy with the capability to destroy offshore mines without having to employ navy minesweepers.

‘Today’s mission requirements demand that mines be rapidly and efficiently detected and eliminated to assure Navy access to littoral areas,’ said John O’Neill, president of Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Undersea Systems. ‘The AN/AQS-232 is a key element in enabling the Navy to achieve littoral battlespace dominance.’