ANNAPOLIS, Md., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The first of three lots of mine-hunting AQS-24B sonar upgrade kits have been delivered by Northrop Grumman to the U.S. Navy's Naval Surface Warfare Center in Florida.
The kits for upgrading 27 AQS-24A mine-hunting systems into the more advanced AQS-24B system will eliminate issues of diminishing material while increasing performance by adding a high-speed synthetic aperture sonar, which increases sonar resolution by a factor of three while maintaining 18 knots speed performance.
"The successful delivery of the initial eight production AQS-24B kits allows for the first operational employment of High Speed Synthetic Aperture Sonar technology by the U.S. Navy," said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.
The synthetic aperture sonar enables the device to scan the ocean floor at three times the resolution of the earlier system while operating at a speed of 18 knots, nearly twice as much as any other operational towed mine-hunting device in the world.
The AQS-24B will be operated from Navy MH-53E helicopters and the mine-hunting unmanned surface vessels currently deployed in the Arabian Gulf.
Northrop Grumman said the second lot of upgrade kits will be delivered in spring.