PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Undersea warfare experts at Northrop Grumman Corp. will upgrade and repair the U.S. Navy AN/AQS-24 airborne and surface mine-hunting and -detection sonar system under terms of a $9.9 million order announced in July.
Officials of the Panama City division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, Fla., are asking the Northrop Grumman Naval Systems segment in Annapolis, Md., provide modifications, maintenance, and depot-level repair for currently deployed AN/AQS-24 systems.
Northrop Grumman will provide depot repairs, carry out engineering change proposals, and integrate logistics support documentation to support AN/AQS-24 conversions and sustainment.
The AN/AQS-24 can be towed through the water by surface vessels and helicopters in areas where naval commanders believe enemy anti-ship mines may be present. The system can work at speeds as fast as 18 knots.
Northrop Grumman Corp. is upgrading the U.S. Navy AN/AQS-24 airborne and surface mine-hunting and -detection sonar system, including modifications, maintenance, and depot-level repair for currently deployed systems.
It uses high-resolution side-scan sonar for real-time detection, localization, and classification of bottom and moored mines at high area coverage rates. Its laser line scanner provides precision optical identification of underwater mines and other objects of interest.
Its sonar and laser line scanner can work at the same time to detect and identify sea mines and other underwater objects. The system offers target box cuing and high-speed operation to provide high-resolution optical imagery for target identification.
The AN/AQS-24 offers synthetic aperture sonar and advanced navigation controls and digital signal processing for target positioning. The system is rapidly deployable, and has been towed from aircraft, surface ships, and remotely operated vehicles.
Digital electronics in the system’s towed body enable onboard beamforming for increased resolution at extended ranges in shallow and deep water. Its operator console has two 21-inch 3MP medical-grade flat-panel displays for viewing laser video and sonar imagery.
The system has high-end commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computer server-based processing with high-speed digital recording and high-bandwidth telemetry.
In late 2016 Northrop Grumman delivered the first AN/AQS-24B upgrade kits to the Navy for upgrading 27 AQS-24A mine hunting systems into the more advanced AQS-24B system.
The upgrades were to increase the systems’s performance by adding a high-speed synthetic-aperture sonar, which increases sonar resolution by a factor of three while maintaining 18-knot speed performance, Northrop Grumman officials say. The upgrades also eliminate parts obsolescence issues.
The synthetic aperture sonar enables the device to scan the ocean floor at three times the resolution of the earlier system. The Navy operates the AQS-24B from MH-53E helicopters and Mine Hunting Unmanned Surface Vessels (MHU).
On this order Northrop Grumman will do the work in Annapolis, Md., and should be finished by April 2019.
For more information contact Northrop Grumman Naval Systems online at www.northropgrumman.com, or the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Panama City at www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NSWC-Panama-City.