August 10, 2008: Boeing has been awarded a $153 million contract for the development of an aerial Assault Breaching System (ABS) Countermine System (CMS). The program continues previous work known as Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Assault Breaching System (JABS), conducted by Boeing’s Phantom Works for the US Navy Office of Naval Research. The CMS weapon will be developed for the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Panama City, Florida.
“The CMS will neutralize mines in the beach and surf zone in advance of an amphibious assault by the Marines,” said Keith Burns, Boeing CMS acting program manager. “This capability will greatly enhance the sea service’s ability to project power and successfully complete a Ship-to-Objective maneuver.”
The new weapon will be contained as a ‘cargo’ in a JDAM shell, delivered by U.S. Air Force strategic bombers will use the CMS to clear assault lanes while Navy tactical fighters perform localized mine neutralization. The weapon will be programmed prior to launch to scatter its darts over a designated aim-point.
Unlike explosive devices currently used for mine clearing, the new weapon’s payload will comprise of 4,000 dart shaped submunitions, designed to attack surface laid and buried mines placed on land, in water or on the surf zone.
The payload will comprise of different darts, comprising chemical materials, high-explosives or reactive materials that neutralize the mine by deflagrating mine’s explosive charge without detonation. The weapon’s development is expected to be completed by 2013. The Navy plans to integrate CMS into the ABS System of Systems providing a mine neutralization capability by 2015-6.
The Boeing-led team includes General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems for mine neutralizer testing, alternate neutralizer design and the modular payload system; Lockheed Martin for the baseline explosive neutralizer; and Nammo-Talley Defense Systems for the dispenser system.