Navy picks SyQwest to design and build undersea sonar communications for surface warships and submarines

June 29, 2023
NGG is for new-construction surface ships, as well as for backfits to Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and future Constellation-class frigates.

KEYPORT, Wash. – U.S. Navy undersea warfare experts needed a new sonar communications system to replace the AN/WQC-2A underwater communications system. They found their solution from SyQwest Inc. in Cranston, R.I.

Officials of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport in Keyport, Wash., announced a $16.6 million contract to SyQwest earlier this month to build the first Next Generation Gertrude (NGG) underwater communication device. The NGG will replace the Navy’s AN/WQC-2A underwater communications system.

The NGG will be for new-construction surface ships, as well as for back-fits to Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and future Constellation-class frigates.

The AN/WQC-2A sonar communications set is a single sideband, general-purpose voice and continuous-wave communication set that functions as an underwater communications system to link surface ships, submarines, and shore stations.

Related: Navy asks SyQwest to provide transducers for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sonar aboard surface warships

The AN/WQC-2A sonar communications set has been in service for more than 35 years and is one of the Navy’s in-service sonar underwater communication system for surface ships, submarines, and coastal based shore installations.

Navy officials are requiring its replacement with a commercially available or purpose built product capable of providing Navy surface combatants with underwater communications between surface ships and submarines.

The NGG underwater communicator will use existing Navy transducers and established electronic interfaces necessary to transmit and receive single-sideband modulated voice, audio, and continuous-wave signals acoustically through the water. NGG will be a STANAG 1074-compliant system.

Test range sites and other coastal installations also use the AN/WQC-2A to communicate with nearby vessels. This system is installed on most U.S. Navy surface ships and submarines, and transmits and receives voice, audio, and low-speed telegraphy for short- and long-distance underwater communications.

Related: Navy asks Lockheed Martin to provide sonar signal processing for undersea warfare surveillance system

The AN/WQC-2A also can amplify and transmit signals from external sources. Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems in Braintree, Mass., is a longtime supplier of the AN/WQC-2A, with more than 300 sonar sets produced for the U.S. Navy and foreign customers, company officials say.

The AN/WQC-2A consists of a control station, a remote control station, a receiver-transmitter, as well as low- and high-frequency transducers.

On this NGG contract SyQwest will do the work in Cranston, R.I., and should be finished by June 2028. For more information contact SyQwest online at, or the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport at

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