Northrop Grumman has successfully demonstrated its AQS-24B mine hunting system at the Unmanned Warrior exercise organised by the UK Royal Navy.
Being held off the coasts of Scotland and west Wales, the exercise aims to promote the latest technologies developed by the country's defence companies.
The demonstration marked the first deployment of AQS-24B towed mine hunting sensor from an unmanned surface vessel in UK waters.
During the exercise, the mine-hunting system was launched, towed and recovered from Atlas Elektronik UK’s ARCIMS unmanned surface vessel (USV).
Operating from a shore base at a speed of 18k, the AQS-24B and the USV were able to quickly finish all the scenarios and challenges set by the UK Royal Navy’s Mine Warfare Group.
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems undersea systems vice-president Alan Lytle said: “Our team’s demonstration at Unmanned Warrior proves that unmanned systems combined with the right payloads can perform high-speed mine countermeasures tasks, greatly reducing the mine clearance timeline while keeping naval personnel out of harm’s way.
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“The USV/AQS-24B combination provides a highly effective and affordable mine countermeasure solution for our allies and theatre security partners.”
Northrop’s AQS-24B system features the world’s first operational high-speed synthetic aperture sonar (HSSAS) and an optical laser line scan sensor.
Its sensor combination enabled the system to exhibit versatility while performing mine detection, localisation, classification and identification in a simulated mine field at the British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre (BUTEC) range in Scotland.
Northrop recently demonstrated an anti-submarine warfare mission, which involved collaboration of unmanned surface, undersea and air assets, at the US Navy’s Annual Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) in Newport, Rhode Island, US.
Image: Northrop demonstrates the AQS-24B mine hunting system at the Unmanned Warrior exercise. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.