BAE Systems has delivered the second upgraded AN/SQQ-32(V)4 mine hunting sonar system for installation on US Navy’s MCM-1 Avenger-class mine countermeasures vessels in Sasebo, Japan, ahead of schedule.

The delivery is part of a $27.5m contract to provide nine upgraded AN/SQQ-32(V)4 systems along with spares to the US Navy.

Mine Warfare Program Office program manager (PMS495) Donna Carson-Jelley said that in 2006, the Government – University of Texas team had began development efforts, resulting in Engineering Development Model capability demonstration on USS Sentry in 2009.

"This sonar upgrade will provide our sailors with state-of-the-art mine detection capability, enhancing their capability for detecting mines and saving our Sailors valuable mission time," Carson-Jelley added.

The AN/SQQ-32(V)4 is a variable depth underwater mine-hunting tactical sonar system consisting of two independent sonar arrays within one variable depth towed body for providing both oceanic mine detection and classification functions.

The new capability, upgraded with a high frequency wide band (HFWB), enhances the operational capability of the ship to detect and differentiate modern threat mines, bottom mines non-mine, and mine like objects in littoral and cluttered underwater environments from stand-off distances thereby ensuring sailor safety.

Developed by Applied Research Laboratory University of Texas, and Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD), Florida, the sonar also improves the gross area clearance rate for the mine countermeasures ships.

The sonar set replaces the existing SQQ-32(V)3 detection sonar currently employed aboard the MCM-1 avenger class mine countermeasures ships.

Work under the contract is being carried out at the company’s facility in Hudson, New Hampshire, US while the remaining systems are scheduled to be upgraded by 2013.