Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24B mine hunting system has successfully demonstrated the capability to carry out synthetic aperture sonar processing at 18k in real-time during a US Navy filed test.
Conducted at US Navy Central Command in Bahrain, the test saw the AQS-24B finishing 12 for 12 in successfully executing missions.
In addition, during separate tactics development trials held in Panama City, the AQS-24B secured long single sortie tow duration of 16.25 hours from a surface ship.
Northrop Grumman Undersea Systems business unit vice-president Alan Lytle said: "The AQS-24B represents a significant advancement of the US Navy’s mine hunting capability, on both the MH-53E helicopters, as well as the Mine Hunting Unmanned Surface Vessels (MHUs).
"With the AQS-24B, Northrop Grumman and the navy have worked together to effectively advance the state of the art in undersea synthetic aperture sonar."
The new mine hunting system was developed at Northrop Grumman’s Undersea Systems campus in Annapolis. This advanced sonar helps the US Navy to detect, classify and localise modern-day mine threats.
In February, the US Navy awarded a contract to Northrop for additional AN / AES-1 airborne laser mine detection systems (ALMDS).
The contract also covered the construction of five ALMDS pod subsystems and delivery of equipment, spares and technical support services.
Using pulsed laser light and streak tube receivers integrated in an external equipment pod, ALMDS generates 3D images of the complete near-surface volume area of the sea.
Mainly aimed at assisting US and allied ships to counter underwater mines, the system will serve as a major component of the littoral combat ship mine countermeasures mission package.