Northrop Grumman demonstrates unmanned mine-hunting capabilities in Belgium

By AUVSI News posted 5 days ago


Northrop Grumman has announced that using the high-speed AQS-24B sensor, the company has successfully demonstrated unmanned mine-hunting capabilities during the Belgian Defense Technology and Industry Day trials at the Naval Base at Zeebrugge, Belgium.

The demonstration, which is a follow-on to a successful operation that took place in October 2016 during Unmanned Warrior in Scotland, showcased the high area coverage rate (ACR) that is attainable when combining Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24B mine hunting system with the Atlas Elektronik UK ARCIMS USV, a platform that has proven to be extremely stable, and shown that it is ideally suited for towing the high-speed AQS-24B in rough seas.

“The ARCIMS - AQS-24B combination provides a highly effective and affordable mine countermeasure solution for our allies and theatre security partners,” says Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.

Besides demonstrating the “modularity and ease of integration of the AQS-24B payload,” the exercise also showed “the importance of the laser line scan sensor which serves as a gap filler for the high speed synthetic aperture sonar.”

“Our team’s demonstration at Belgium North Sea Unmanned MCM Trials proves that unmanned systems combined with the right payloads can perform high-speed mine countermeasures tasks, greatly reducing the mine clearance timeline while keeping naval personnel out of harm’s way,” Lytle adds.

John Sutcliffe, director of business development at Atlas Elektronik UK, says, “Atlas Elektronik UK and Northrop Grumman are leading the way in demonstrating a capability that is real, mature and tested in relevant operational environments in the North Atlantic at the Royal Navy's unmanned warrior and now in the North Sea at the Belgian Navy's Zeebrugge sea areas.”

As a defence contractor in the naval and maritime systems domain, Atlas Elektronik UK specializes in technologies in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and mine countermeasure (MCM). They are also world leaders in several areas such as hydro acoustics, underwater communications and maritime security.

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Northrop Grumman Demonstrates Landmark Unmanned Mine-hunting Capabilities During Belgium North Sea Unmanned MCM Trials, Photo Courtesy of Northrop Grumman

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