photo: Remote Minehunting System and AN/AQS-20A Minehunting Sonar on USS Independence
Raytheon is working closely with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) – Division Newport to enhance the features of the company’s AN/AQS-20A minehunting sonar. Together, the team is analyzing the system’s synthetic aperture sonar to fully optimize its ability to capture and process high- and low-resolution images of mine threats undersea.
“Extending our long history of collaboration with our NUWC neighbors, this project brings together our respective sonar experts to maximize the performance of a critical undersea warfare capability,” said Kevin Peppe, vice president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems’ Seapower Capability Systems. “Our goal is to build on the system’s proven performance and further the advantage that AN/AQS-20A provides to the Navy to safely detect and effectively identify these undersea threats.”
Under a ‘work for private party’ contract funded by Raytheon, NUWC joins the ongoing initiatives of the AN/AQS-20A team which has been providing these systems to the U.S. Navy for more than 10 years. The system leverages advanced sonar technologies to support the Navy’s critical minehunting missions, ensuring safe access and passage for military and civilian vessels on the world’s oceans and waterways.
Enhancements provided by the synthetic aperture sonar include higher-quality imaging of objects found deep undersea to aid in the identification and classification of mines. Through a series of lab- and sea-based tests, the team will extensively evaluate and exercise the sonar’s features to optimize the quality of both high- and low-resolution imaging.
Deployed from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) as the variable depth sonar for the AN/WLD-1 Remote Minehunting System (RMS), AN/AQS-20A is a critical element of the U.S. Navy’s mine countermeasure capability, and the only minehunting sonar sensor developed, tested and certified for Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle (RMMV) deployment. It is the most advanced and capable mine warfare sensor system, uniquely providing detection and classification through the integration of multiple sensors.
The AN/AQS-20A system is towed undersea to simultaneously scan the water column for anti-shipping mines forward of, to the sides, and beneath the vehicle. Sophisticated sonar, electro-optical sensors, and high-precision location information are used to provide high-resolution images of mines and mine-like objects.
End-to-End Mine Countermeasure Capability
Raytheon provides both a modern minehunting and mine neutralization capability to the U.S. Navy, which are two of the components in the mine countermeasure mission package for the Littoral Combat Ship class. Supporting mine-clearing operations in both deep-ocean and littoral waters, AN/AQS-20A minehunting sonar detects, localizes bottom, close-tethered and volume mines, and identifies bottom mines. The AN/ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) reacquires and neutralizes mines found by the AN/AQS-20A. AMNS consists of a helicopter-deployed launch and handling system equipped with four unmanned Archerfish™ neutralizer vehicles which destroy mines via remote control from the operator in the MH-60S helicopter.
The advanced technologies of these systems deliver a comprehensive, end-to-end solution – detection to neutralization – enabling the Navy to safely and effectively execute its mission with reduced risk to its ships and crews.