US Navy receives first mine hunting sonar upgrades from Northrop Grumman

21 September 2016 (Last Updated September 21st, 2016 18:30)

The US Navy has received Northrop Grumman's first AQS-24B mine hunting sonar upgrade kits, which will be used by HM-12, -14 and -15 Mine Countermeasures Squadrons.

The US Navy has received Northrop Grumman's first AQS-24B mine hunting sonar upgrade kits, which will be used by HM-12, -14 and -15 Mine Countermeasures Squadrons.

Awarded by the US Navy's mine warfare programme office, the production contract seeks to upgrade 27 AQS-24A mine hunting systems into the more advanced AQS-24B system.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems undersea systems vice-president Alan Lytle said: "The successful delivery of the initial eight production AQS-24B kits allows for the first operational employment of high-speed synthetic aperture sonar technology by the US Navy."

Work under the contract is being carried out in three production lots.

"The successful delivery of the initial eight production AQS-24B kits allows for the first operational employment of high-speed synthetic aperture sonar technology by the US Navy."

The second lot is slated for delivery this autumn, and the third is scheduled for early 2017.

The AQS-24B is a high-speed airborne mine hunting system fitted with high-resolution, side-scan sonar equipment that allows it to detect, locate and classify bottom and moored mines in real-time.

The addition of the high-speed synthetic aperture sonar increases sonar resolution by a factor of three, enhances performance and eliminates issues caused by diminishing materials.

The AQS-24B will be installed in MH-53E helicopters and the mine hunting unmanned (MHU) surface vessels, which are currently conducting operations in the Arabian Gulf.


Image: Northrop Grumman's AQS-24B mine hunting system. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman.