Northrop Grumman has produced the first of three batches of tools for the U.S. Navy to modernize the service branch’s current mine-hunting countermeasure technology.
The tools have been delivered to the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Panama City division in Florida and are designed to update 27 AQS-24A mine-hunting devices into the AQS-24B configuration, Northrop said Wednesday.
The Navy’s HM-12, -14 and -15 Mine Countermeasures Squadrons will operate the AQS-24B from MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters and unmanned surface vessels in the Arabian Gulf.
The updated system will employ a synthetic aperture sonar designed operate at a speed of 18 knots and scan the ocean floor at three times the resolution of the previous configuration.
Northrop is scheduled to deliver the second lot of AQS-24B modernization kits this fall and the third batch in spring 2017.