Raytheon’s AQS-20C Mine-Hunting Sonar Set for August Navy IOC
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Raytheon-built AQS-20C mine-hunting sonar is set for delivery to the Navy this summer and is heading toward initial operational capability (IOC) in August, a company official said.
In an April 10 interview with Seapower at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition, Thomas J. Moore, senior director for mine warfare and the AQS-20 in Raytheon’s Undersea Systems unit, said the company will deliver 10 ASQ-20C systems to the Navy.
Moore said the AQS-20C will be installed in Textron’s Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vehicle and will go through developmental test in July.
Raytheon has delivered 25 AQS-20A analog versions to the Navy. The AQS-20C has digital electronic systems.
The AQS-20C is a platform-agnostic towed body that is reeled out from a craft and streamed at a desired depth. The towed body features four sonars — one forward-looking, two side-looking, and one downward-looking — that hunt for mines. The body also has a laser imaging system for identification of mines. These sensors enable the AQS-20C to cover an area in a single pass. All of the classification of detected shapes is done within the body of the system.
The AQS-20C covers the entire water column and has four modes, depending on the type of mine being hunted.
The Navy will conduct developmental test of the AQS-20C on a littoral combat ship in the 2019/2020 time frame.
The AQS-20 originally was to be installed on the MH-53E helicopter, but later was migrated to the MH-60S helicopter, then to the Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle, and finally to the current platforms.