Northrop Grumman has successfully completed a system test for the AQS-24 minehunting sonar off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The company operated the sonar at a depth of more than 400ft during the testing.

The successful test was conducted from the M/V Richard Becker and doubles the AQS-24 sonar’s record depth.

Northrop Grumman noted that the sonar system demonstrated expected performance levels at all tested depths.

The test team used the AQS-24 to classify bottom objects of interest.

Northrop Grumman undersea systems vice-president Alan Lytle said: “The AQS-24 minehunting system performed superbly at tow depths up to and beyond 400ft.

“This latest internal research and development effort underscores our commitment to provide the most innovative, affordable and operationally-proven capabilities to meet the navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mine Countermeasures Mission (MCM) package requirements and future expeditionary MCM needs.”

The company integrated its image exploitation suite into the AQS-24 minehunting system. A demonstration of the sonar’s autonomy upgrade path was performed earlier this year.

The image exploitation suite is equipped with a machine learning capability to facilitate automatic target recognition.

The US Navy is planning to equip its existing AQS-24 systems with the new capability.

Northrop Grumman stated that in-water testing of the sonar system on the navy’s MCM unmanned surface vessel (USV) is currently underway.

The AQS-24 system is expected to undergo user-operated evaluation system testing aboard the navy’s LCS next year.

The new depth capability of the system is also planned to be integrated and tested with the MCM USV system.

In February this year, Northrop Grumman began the delivery of two upgraded AQS-24C systems to the US Navy.