US: The US Navy is enhancing the mine detection ability of undersea unmanned vehicles for its Littoral Combat Ships. The service has awarded a USD 35.5 million contract to Raytheon for AN/AQS-20A minehunting sonar systems and equipment. The system uses advanced sonar technologies to detect mines and ensure safe passage for military and civilian vessels. The system is to be deployed on Lockheed Martin’s Remote Multi Mission Vehicle (RMMV), which provides the primary mine reconnaissance capability for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).
The RMMV is designed to fulfill the need for unmanned, offboard systems to detect and identify bottom and moored mines in littoral regions, significantly reducing the danger to Navy personnel and ships. The AN/AQS-20A is the only minehunting sonar sensor tested, developed, and certified for the RMMV. The system is fully integrated and is effectively operated from the RMMV. Combined, the system is capable of detecting and classifying mine-shaped objects in a single pass, using simultaneous multisystem sonar processing and high definition, electro-optic identification. The AN/AQS-20A is the only system capable of using LASER STIL technology, providing range and contrast image data. Compared to legacy systems, the AN/AQS-20A delivers more than four times the area search rate. The system is part of a mine neutralization capability provided by the mine countermeasure mission package for the LCS, according to the Navy. "An essential component of LCS, AN/AQS-20A advances the capability of the ship's mine countermeasure arsenal. Enhanced to optimize detection – in both range and accuracy, AN/AQS-20A provides the Navy with the advantage they need to safely detect and effectively identify these undersea threats,” said Kevin Peppe, vice president of Seapower Capability Systems for Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business.
Source: Defense systems