Navy Tests Laser Mine Detection System Developed in Panhandle

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The Navy is conducting a month-long series of tests on a new laser system developed and manufactured in Florida to detect mines from helicopters flying over the sea.

Testing of the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System began yesterday at the Naval Coastal Systems Station in Panama City Beach, where it was developed, and in St. Andrew Bay. The system is made by Northrop Grumman in Melbourne.

The testing will be used to determine if the Navy purchases the system in quantity for use in the fleet.

The laser system for detecting mines would eliminate the need for helicopters to tow through the water cables with devices attached to them.

An 800-pound, 8-foot-long pod attached to the side of the helicopter scans a green light over the water that returns a signal to a computer console inside the aircraft, showing technicians if any mines are present