The Navy Standard for Airborne Mine Neutralization
Seaborne mines continue to menace naval and maritime forces worldwide. Mines are used to attack ships approximately 200 times more than any other weapon. Raytheon’s Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS), the U.S. Navy’s standard for organic airborne mine clearance, has been designed to counter this threat.
AMNS neutralizes moored and bottom mines while operating from sea- and land-based MH-60S helicopters. By using helicopters as a central platform, mine clearance has become safer.
Mines are first identified by the AN/AQS-20A sonar system or other mine countermeasure assets. The AMNS then identifies the location of the mines and neutralizes the target. AMNS consists of the following removable mission equipment:
- Launch and Handling System
- Common neutralizer vehicle
- Common console display
- Carriage, Stream, Tow and Recovery System
Launch and Handling System Easily Deployed From Aircraft
The mine neutralization begins with the deployment of the Launch and Handling System (LHS) from the MH-60S helicopter. Because it’s compatible with MH-60S mechanical and electrical interfaces and supports easy on/off
kit reconfiguration, the LHS is easily deployed from the aircraft. The highly effective LHS integrates many diverse high-tech capabilities into a single system, including a stable platform from which to launch the neutralizer vehicle.
Common Neutralizer Vehicle Ensures Safe Handling
The neutralizer vehicle is released from the LHS under the control of the sensor operator on the aircraft. The operator guides the lightweight (15.5 kg) and highly maneuverable vehicle to the target location using on-board sonar.
After the target is viewed and positively identified with an on-board video camera, the operator fires an armor-piercing warhead from the vehicle to neutralize the mine. The neutralizer’s state-of-the art electronics and sensors also provide a robust, high-speed fiber optic data link, track responder and echo sounder. An inert unit with strobe light, acoustic beacon and recovery section is used for training.