Engineers from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, Fla., completed the first installation of the AN/SQQ-32(V)4 minehunting sonar set upgrade on USS Guardian (MCM 5) April 18, in the ship’s homeport of Sasebo, Japan.
The minehunting sonar set is designed to meet the modern challenges of mine detection and classification and is a high-frequency wideband upgrade to the in-service AN/SQQ-32(V)3 sonar.
This upgrade will improve detection sonar performance in high clutter environments, increase instantaneous area search rate for stealthy targets, and provide improved target resolution imagery. These combined sensor improvements will address identified performance gaps and provide warfighters with the best capability available to fight and win in the littorals. The upgrade also reduces obsolescence issues and represents a capability that previously did not exist in the mine countermeasures fleet.
The system installation began Jan. 11, and consisted of an upgrade to the towed body, winch and tow cable, along with new operator consoles and various interface assemblies.
Following a pier-side system grooming and checkout, the ship got underway April 17 as the final step in completing the formal verification testing.
With the install completed, the final step in preparing the MCM 5 crew operations will consist of advanced operator training, which is scheduled for June. The focus of this training will be to prepare the sonar operators to use the sonar effectively for minehunting operations.
The next installation is scheduled to begin aboard USS Patriot (MCM 7), also located in Sasebo, Japan, in May. Additional installations are scheduled for six other MCMs in the Fifth and Seventh Fleets from fiscal year 2012-2015.
PEO LCS, an affiliated Program Executive Office of Naval Sea Systems Command, provides a single Program Executive responsible for acquiring and sustaining mission capabilities of the Littoral Combat Ship class, beginning with procurement, and ending with fleet employment and sustainment. The combined capabilities of LCS and LCS mission systems are designed to dominate the littoral battle space and provide U.S. forces with assured access to coastal areas.