Raytheon and the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) – Division Newport have successfully upgraded the US Navy’s AN/AQS-20A mine-hunting sonar to better identify and classify mines.
The enhancements have been delivered as part of a collaboration launched last year by Raytheon and NUWC under a 'work for private party' contract funded by the US company.
The team evaluated the equipment’s synthetic aperture sonar to optimise its ability to capture high and low-resolution images of potential mine threats undersea.
During testing, the equipment demonstrated better performance and reliability, and generated better quality imaging of objects undersea, thereby improving the system’s mine detection capability.
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Seapower Capability Systems vice-president Paul Ferraro said: "Together with NUWC, we have applied our collective expertise to enhance this critical undersea warfare technology and we have achieved outstanding results.
"Building on the system's proven performance, we have increased its ability to go further and see objects more clearly; critical abilities for the Navy's mine warfare mission."
The AN/AQS-20A is a mine warfare sensor used to scan the water in front, to the sides, and below the vehicle for anti-shipping mines.
It is equipped with advanced sonar, electro-optical sensors and high-precision location information, which aids in providing high-resolution images of mines undersea.
The system supports the US Navy's critical minehunting missions that ensure safe access and passage for military and civilian vessels on the world's oceans and waterways.
It can be deployed for mine-clearing missions in both deep-ocean and littoral waters, where the AN/AQS-20A identifies bottom, close-tethered and volume mines.