Northrop Grumman Corporation has been competitively selected to supply the AQS-24A airborne mine-hunting system to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Under the initial contract, Northrop Grumman’s Undersea Systems business unit will deliver the airborne mine-hunting system to Kawasaki Heavy Industries for integration into Japan’s new Airborne Mine Countermeasures MCH-101 helicopter.
“The combination of our proven high performance, low cost and ease of integration in the MCH-101 airframe makes the AQS-24A the ideal choice for Japan’s helicopter-based mine-hunting needs,” said Tom Jones, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s Undersea Systems business unit. “As the only operational airborne mine-hunting search system in the U.S. Navy, the AQS-24A has demonstrated very high reliability in the field with the Navy’s Helicopter Mine Countermeasures squadrons.”
The AQS-24A and its predecessors, the AQS-24 and the AQS-14, have been the only operational airborne mine hunting search systems used by the U.S. Navy for the past 27 years. The AQS-24A is a high speed mine-hunting system that is primarily towed from the MH-53E helicopter, but has been easily adapted to the smaller Japanese MCH-101 aircraft. With a track record of proven reliability and performance across the globe, the system’s high-resolution side-scan sonar detects, localizes and classifies both bottom and moored mines in real time at high area coverage rates.
The AQS-24A contains a laser line scanner that provides precision optical identification of underwater mines and other objects of interest. The AQS-24A allows for simultaneous operation of the sonar and laser, which significantly improves area coverage rate, shortens the mine clearance timeline and alleviates unnecessary maintenance cycles. Advanced navigation controls and processing provide highly accurate target positioning.
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