The US Navy has exercised a US$17.3 million contract option for three additional AN/AQS-20 high-speed acoustic mine hunting systems from the Naval & Maritime Integrated Systems (N&MIS) business unit of Raytheon.
This brings the number of systems ordered by the Navy to five under a contract that – if all options are exercised – is worth $48 million.
The AN/AQS-20 is said to be an advanced helicopter and surface towed mine hunting sonar system, which incorporates five separate sonars in a compact, lightweight and hydrodynamically stable body.
The system is reported to integrate advanced imaging sonars, signal processing and computer algorithms to provide real-time computer-aided detection and classification against the full spectrum of mine threats.
The AN/AQS-20 localises threat mines and provides the operator with a visual image and contact data list. The two systems placed under contract earlier this year will be towed from the Lockheed Martin Remote Minehunting System (RMS), a surface craft; the three option systems will be towed from the MH-53E helicopter.
‘The AN/AQS-20 sonar is the cornerstone of the US Navy’s airborne mine countermeasures capability. It will allow the Navy safe passage through minedwaters,’ said Dan Smith, N&MIS vice president and general manager.
Work under the contract will be performed at the N&MIS facility and is expected to be complete by September 2003.