The Northrop Grumman Airborne Standoff Minefield Detection System (ASTAMIDS) is to be sent to Bosnia for three months, says John Martin, a new-business-development manager for the US firm.

The ASTAMIDS, which consists of an infra-red (IR) sensor, processor and display station, is designed to survey minefields accurately from manned aircraft and unmanned air vehicles, such as the General Atomics Predator and Alliant Techsystems Outrider.

Funding for the Bosnia deployment is still pending, but Northrop Grumman expects a $450,000 contract to support operations between August and October. The system will be operated from a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter by US Army field engineers.

Northrop Grumman's passive infra-red system compares heat and shape profiles of a buried mine.

The IR sensor was developed from the company's defunct Falcon Knight programme which aimed to give the Lockheed Martin F-16 a close-air-support capability.

The ASTAMIDS was preferred to Raytheon's rival minehunter. system for the operation.

Source: Flight International