Northrop Grumman has delivered the first of three lots of mine hunting sonar upgrade kits to the U.S. Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division.
The production contracts from the Navy’s PMS-495 are for upgrading 27 AQS-24A mine hunting systems into the more advanced AQS-24B system (see photos in gallery).
The upgrades eliminate diminishing material issues while increasing performance by adding the world’s first high speed synthetic aperture sonar, which increases sonar resolution by a factor of three while maintaining 18 knots speed performance.
The synthetic aperture sonar enables the device to scan the ocean floor at three times the resolution of the earlier system while operating at a speed of 18 knots, nearly twice as much as any other operational towed mine hunting device in the world.
The AQS-24B will be operated from MH-53E helicopters and the Mine Hunting Unmanned Surface Vessels (MHU) currently deployed in the Arabian Gulf.
Work is being done in three production lots. The first production lot has now completed delivery. Production lot two will deliver in the fall and production lot three in spring, 2017.