The US Department of Defense (DoD) has modified the previous contract awarded to Northrop Grumman to offer additional support for the minehunting technology used by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division.
Work under the $25m contract includes continuing depot level repair, maintenance, related engineering services, change kits and integrated logistics support documentation for the AN/AQS-14A sonar detecting set and AQS-24 minehunting system.
In addition, similar services are to be carried out on the ALQ-141 acoustic minehunting/minesweeping system, the USM-668 intermediate level test equipment (ILTE), the modified USM-668A ILTE and the swivel slip-ring assembly.
The work, which should be finished by February 2015, will be undertaken in Annapolis, Maryland, US.
Northrop Grumman's AN/AQS-24A airborne minehunting system is reported to be the only deployed and high-speed system of its kind. It incorporates a high-resolution, side-scan sonar for real-time detection, and the localisation and classification of bottom and moored mines at high-area coverage rates.
The AQS-24A and its predecessors, AQS-24 and AQS-14, have been used by the US Navy for the past 29 years.
Primarily towed from the MH-53E helicopter, the AQS-24A contains a laser-line scanner that provides precision optical identification of underwater mines and other objects of interest.
Equipped with advanced navigation controls and processing for highly accurate target positioning, it also provides a simultaneous operation of the sonar and laser, which improves area coverage rate and reduces the mine clearance timeline.