Northrop Grumman is set to integrate its high-performance interferometric synthetic aperture sonar µSAS onto L3Harris Technologies’ Iver4 Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV).

The integration of the Low-SWaP (size, weight and power) payload is part of a test period to be carried out for one year for the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU) Next Generation Small-Class UUV programme.

The µSAS, which enables longer sorties and higher area coverage rates for UUV missions, will be integrated onto a 9in diameter, 200lbs vehicle.

Northrop will perform the installation at L3Harris’ Fall River, Massachusetts facility, with the system planned to be tested in San Diego, California by the US Navy.

The company noted that the integration of the sonar on a UUV is a significant step forward in small class vehicle capability.

Northrop Grumman undersea systems vice-president Alan Lytle said: “The Northrop Grumman µSAS advanced imaging sonar is a minehunting force multiplier designed specifically for UUVs.

“This integration will help to deliver a significant increase in the platform’s ability to detect objects on the seafloor and in the water column.”

The µSAS payload is capable of operating off a man-portable autonomous underwater vehicle for real-time classification of mine-like objects.

L3Harris unmanned maritime systems president and general manager Daryl Slocum said: “The Iver4, integrated with µSAS, is a major advancement in small-class UUV capability for the warfighter.”

Last month, Northrop completed initial in-water testing of the AQS-24 mine hunting sonar using a next-generation Deploy and Retrieval (D&R) payload.

The company highlighted its seabed warfare capabilities in October 2018, including µSAS and real-time automated target recognition technologies at the US Navy’s Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) in Newport, Rhode Island.