Northrop Grumman displays mine hunting and subsea surveillance system

19 December 2018 (Last Updated December 19th, 2018 16:46)

Northrop Grumman has demonstrated its AQS-24B mine hunting system with undersea surveillance capability during the Autonomous Warrior 2018 (AW18) exercise in Jervis Bay, Australia. 

Northrop Grumman displays mine hunting and subsea surveillance system
The AQS-24B detects mines at nearly twice the towing speed of any other mine hunting system on the market. Credit: Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Northrop Grumman has demonstrated its AQS-24B mine hunting system with undersea surveillance capability during the Autonomous Warrior 2018 (AW18) exercise in Jervis Bay, Australia.

The Royal Australian Navy-sponsored AW18 is an initiative undertaken by Australia’s Defence Science and Technology group to demonstrate the potential of unmanned systems to transform defence capabilities.

Northrop Grumman demonstrated the system’s capabilities using its remote-controlled mine hunting unmanned surface vessel (MHU) with the AQS-24B mine hunting sensor.

According to the company, the mine-hunting and undersea surveillance capability will reduce the mine clearance time, and assist in accurate detection, localisation and identification of undersea objects.

In addition, the capability improves crew safety by allowing the mission to be carried out from a safe distance.

“The demonstration highlighted Northrop Grumman’s leading role in proving the operational utility of unmanned maritime systems in the mine warfare domain.”

Northrop Grumman undersea systems vice-president Alan Lytle said: “The demonstration highlighted Northrop Grumman’s leading role in proving the operational utility of unmanned maritime systems in the mine warfare domain.

“At operational speeds significantly higher than other mine hunting systems on the market, the USV/AQS-24B combination successfully completed a number of scenarios and challenges that were set by the Royal Australian Navy’s exercise command task group.”

The AQS-24B system is incorporated with a combined operational high-speed synthetic aperture sonar and an optical laser line scan sensor.

Northrop Grumman also noted that the real-time analysis capability showcased the ability of unmanned systems to improve manned mine warfare operations.

The MHU was outfitted with L3 ASV’s ‘ASView’ unmanned control system, which helped control the vessel from a remote location with minimal human supervision.

Alongside, ASView’s situational awareness displays allowed the remote captain to safely perform dynamic demands of mine warfare missions.