The AQS-24B, the only deployed and operationally proven, high-speed mine hunting system in the world, with operational speeds of up to 18 knots, will be exhibited at the 2018 Undersea Defence & Security Conference in Portsmouth, U.K., March 20-22. It uses a high-resolution, side scan sonar for real time detection, localization and classification of mines at high coverage rates and a laser line scanner to provide precision optical identification. The AQS series minehunter is used both domestically and abroad and has logged thousands of hours of operation.
At the recent Expeditionary Warfare Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, representatives of the U.S. Navy praised the AQS-24B minehunting system for its performance in exercises in the Arabian Gulf and in South Korea. The AQS-24B completed fleet introduction as an upgrade to the already operational AQS-24A in the spring of 2017. The upgrade added a state-of-the-art High Speed Synthetic Aperture Sonar capability, developed and built by Northrop Grumman, which significantly increased the system’s sonar resolution for mine detection, localization and classification.
U.S. Navy Commodore Mike Egan, Commander Task Force 52 (CTF-52), based in Bahrain, commented during a panel on mine warfare at the conference that, “The AQS-24B is performing extremely well in theater and exceeding the expectations of the fleet operators.”
The AQS-24B is operated from both the MH-53E heavy lift helicopters from Helicopter Mine countermeasures Squadron 15 (HM-15) and from the Mine Hunting Unmanned Surface Vessels (MHU) in the Arabian Gulf. The MHU with the AQS-24 has been deployed and operated from both U.S. Navy ships, such as the recently decommissioned USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) and the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3), as well as United Kingdom Royal Navy ships, such as the RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009).
Since being introduced into the Navy’s Airborne Mine Countermeasures Squadrons this past spring, the AQS-24B has successfully completed three operational exercises, including two in the Arabian Gulf by HM-15 and a third exercise in South Korea, where the system is operated by the Helicopter Mine countermeasures Squadron 14 (HM-14).
U. S. Navy Captain Hans Lynch, the Mine Warfare Branch Head, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations staff (N952) said, “We are very pleased with the way the AQS-24B systems have performed in their initial exercises.”
“We are extremely proud to hear from our nation’s warfighters that the AQS-24B is performing exceptionally well in theater,” said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. “We look forward to future opportunities to demonstrate the true state-of-the-art technology that the AQS-24B represents for both the U.S. Navy and our allies.”
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