Northrop Grumman Naval UxV Developments

Northrop Grumman concept video depicting their version of the F/A-XX and UCLASS.

AQS-24 with Spartan USV (photo courtesy Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Awarded USV Mine-Hunting Sonar Contract

10 June 2013 - Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been awarded a contract to support the U.S. Navy's integration onto an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) of the Northrop Grumman-built AQS-24A Side Look Sonar System to look for bottom and volume mines remotely.

 The repackaging of the sonar for USV use will build upon the proven capabilities of the AQS-24A. The AQS-24A and its predecessors, the AQS-24 and the AQS-14, all built by Northrop Grumman, are airborne mine-hunting search systems used by the Navy for the past 28 years. The AQS-24A is a high-speed mine-hunting system that is primarily towed from the MH-53E helicopter, but has been tested from USVs (including the 11 meter version of Spartan) since 2002 by Northrop Grumman. With a track record of 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. 

"This is a great step forward for those who have been involved in USVs and mine-hunting for as many years as the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and Northrop Grumman," said Tom Jones, vice president of Northrop Grumman's Undersea Systems business unit. "The results of this effort could apply to future USV programs, both in the U.S. Navy as well as the navies of potential coalition partners such as Australia."

In cooperation with the Navy and industry partners, Northrop Grumman has operated USVs in various tests and fleet exercises that range from remote control to autonomous operations. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I., Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) in Panama City, Fla., NSWC Carderock Division in West Bethesda, Md., NSWC Combatant Craft Division in Norfolk, Va., and Northrop Grumman jointly developed an 11-meter USV that launched, recovered and towed the AQS-24A.

 SOURCE Northrop Grumman Corporation

See also: Single Sortie Detect to Engage Mine Countermeasures (SS-DTE MCM) Program

AQS-24 trials with Spartan USV off Camp Pendleton, CA.