Magazine article National Defense

Northrop Eyes Contracts for Minesweeping Payload

Magazine article National Defense

Northrop Eyes Contracts for Minesweeping Payload

Article excerpt

As governments around the globe seek to modernize their mine countermeasure systems, Northrop Grumman is hoping to sell its AQS-24B payload, which is already employed by the U.S. Navy.

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Many international navies are in the process of recapitalizing their mine countermeasure capabilities, said Gene Cumm, director of advanced integration systems at Northrop Grumman. "A number of them are looking at getting away from the large mine-hunting ships with significant crew sizes, to go to more of an off-board unmanned capability just to reduce operating and support cost," he said.

The AQS-24B can be towed by an unmanned surface vessel to locate mines. The system has the ability to conduct mine-hunting missions at high speeds.

"It is as modern a capability as there is out there today," Cumm said. "It's focused on the incorporation of what's called high-speed synthetic aperture sonar technology, which really allows us to get high-resolution sonar imagery and maintain that 18-knot forward speed that is very much desired in mine clearance."

Northrop recently demonstrated the capability during the Belgian Defense Technology and Industry Day trials at a naval base in Zeebrugge, Belgium. …

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