U.S. based defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation demonstrated its AQS-24B mine hunting system at the Royal Navy-sponsored Unmanned Warrior exercise in Scotland marking the first time the AQS-24B towed mine hunting sensor has been deployed from an unmanned surface vessel in British waters.
Northrop Grumman said the system was remotely launched, towed and recovered from Atlas Elektronik U.K.’s ARCIMS unmanned surface vessel (USV) and was operated from a shore base at speeds of up to 18 knots.
According to the company, the USV/ AQS-24B combination quickly completed a number of scenarios and challenges that were set by the Royal Navy’s Mine Warfare Group.
“Our team’s demonstration at Unmanned Warrior proves that unmanned systems combined with the right payloads can perform high speed mine countermeasures tasks, greatly reducing the mine clearance timeline while keeping naval personnel out of harm’s way,” said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.
The AQS-24B system includes a high speed synthetic aperture sonar (HSSAS) and an optical laser line scan sensor. With this unique sensor combination the system demonstrated its versatility by performing mine detection, localisation, classification and identification in a simulated mine field at the British underwater test and evaluation centre range in Scotland.
Unmanned Warrior, which took place at exercise areas in Scotland and the Western Isles, was part of the biannual Joint Warrior exercise. The event featured more than 40 unmanned vehicles, sensors and systems demonstrating key military missions for the Royal Navy in a series of themed activities including mine-hunting, sea surveying, submarine simulation and fleet reconnaissance.