Northrop Grumman Successfully Tests AQS-24 Mine-Hunting Sonar Deep Tow

The AQS-24 mine-hunting sonar is operated off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Northrop Grumman Corp.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Northrop Grumman Corp. successfully operated the AQS-24 mine-hunting sonar at depths greater than 400 feet during testing off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, according to a company release. 

Embarked on the M/V Richard Becker, the Northrop Grumman test team demonstrated reliable AQS-24 system operations with excellent sonar performance at all tested depths while using the system to classify bottom objects of interest. 

“The AQS-24 mine-hunting system performed superbly at tow depths up to and beyond 400 feet,” said Alan Lytle, vice president of undersea systems for Northrop Grumman. “This latest internal research and development effort underscores our commitment to provide the most innovative, affordable and operationally proven capabilities to meet the Navy’s littoral combat ship mine countermeasures mission package requirements and future expeditionary MCM needs.” 

Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman demonstrated an autonomy upgrade path for the mine-hunting system by integrating and successfully testing the company’s image exploitation suite, incorporating state-of-the-art machine learning for automatic target recognition ATR using multiple ATR algorithms. Following this successful demonstration, the U.S. Navy plans to incorporate this new capability into existing AQS-24 mine-hunting systems. 

The success of the deep tow is now followed by the recently commenced in-water testing of Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24 system on the Navy’s MCM unmanned surface vessel (USV) at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City. This is in preparation for user operated evaluation system testing aboard littoral combat ships next year. The AQS-24’s newly doubled depth capability is planned for integration and test with the MCM USV system.