Japan getting Northrop mine-hunting system

Oct. 25, 2011 at 5:42 AM
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ANNAPOLIS, Md., Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Japan's military is receiving an airborne mine-hunting system from Northrop Grumman.

Under the initial contract, Northrop Grumman's Undersea Systems business unit will deliver the AQS-24A airborne mine-hunting system to Kawasaki Heavy Industries for integration into Japan's new Airborne Mine Countermeasures MCH-101 helicopter.

"The combination of our proven high-performance, low-cost and ease of integration in the MCH-101 airframe makes the AQS-24A the ideal choice for Japan's helicopter-based mine-hunting needs," said Tom Jones, vice president of Northrop Grumman's Undersea Systems business unit.

"As the only operational airborne mine-hunting search system in the U.S. Navy, the AQS-24A has demonstrated very high reliability in the field with the Navy's Helicopter Mine Countermeasures squadrons."

The AQS-24A is a high-speed, mine-hunting system that is primarily towed from the MH-53E helicopter but has been adapted to the smaller Japanese MCH-101 aircraft. The system's high-resolution, side-scan sonar detects, localizes and classifies both bottom and moored mines in real time at high-area coverage rates.

The AQS-24A contains a laser line scanner that provides precision optical identification. It also allows for simultaneous operation of the sonar and laser, which significantly improves area coverage rate, shortens the mine clearance timeline and alleviates unnecessary maintenance cycles.

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