The US Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded Raytheon a $23.2m contract to provide AN/AQS-20A mine hunting sonar engineering services and support. This award exercises an option on an existing 2005 contract, bringing the total contract value to $139m.
AN/AQS-20A, a key component of the Organic Mine Countermeasures family of systems, has been integrated into multiple airborne mine countermeasures helicopters. According to Raytheon, it is the primary mine hunting system integrated into the US Navy’s MH-60S. It provides critical capabilities in support of mine-clearing operations in deep-ocean and littoral waters by enabling the detection, classification and localisation of bottom, close-tethered and volume mines.
The AN/AQS-20A system is towed undersea to scan the water in front and to the sides of the vehicle as well as the sea bottom for anti-shipping mines. The system uses sonar and electro-optical sensors to provide high-resolution images of mines and mine-like objects as well as high-precision location information.
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems’ engineering services and support will carry out the design, development and production of the system’s acoustic and optical sensors through the implementation of pre-planned product improvements and whole life services and support.
To date, the company has delivered 10 AN/AQS-20A systems to the navy. Four systems are currently undergoing technical evaluation as part of the navy’s mine countermeasure operational testing – the final stage before official deployment to the fleet. IDS is under contract to deliver an additional 11 systems within the next 24 months.