Wednesday, 27 February 2019

US Navy completes AN/AQS-20C mine-hunting sonar developmental testing - Naval News

US Navy completes AN/AQS-20C mine-hunting sonar developmental testing - Naval News: The US Navy announced completion of developmental testing for the AN/AQS-20C mine-hunting sonar system at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, Feb. 26.

The AQS-20C is the next generation of the AN/AQS-20 system designed to be incorporated into the Littoral Combat Ship Mine Countermeasures Mission Package. The system consists of four sonar arrays: two side-looking arrays; a gap-filler sonar array; and a forward-looking sonar array providing simultaneous detection, localization and classification of bottom mines, close-tethered moored mines and volume-moored mines. 

The system delivers high-definition images of bottom mines, providing the operator with both range and contrast data that combine to form a three-dimensional image during post-mission analysis to aid in mine identification.

Developmental testing verifies that a system’s design meets all technical specifications, and that all contract requirements have been met. During testing the Raytheon-developed towed sonar sensor conducted 12 underway missions in various operational modes and at different depths at four separate NSWC PCD test ranges. The missions were conducted aboard the test vessel M/V Patriot.

The AQS-20C will now be integrated with and deployed from the Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MCM USV), a long-endurance, semi-autonomous, diesel-powered, all-aluminum surface craft that supports the employment of various mine countermeasure payloads. The MCM USV can be launched and recovered by the LCS, from other vessels of opportunity or from shore sites to provide minesweeping, mine-hunting and mine neutralization capabilities. The MCM USV is currently undergoing developmental testing as a component of the Unmanned Influence Sweep System at the South Florida Test Facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Test results will now undergo scoring and performance assessment leading up to a final developmental testing report that is expected to be completed in the spring. Findings from this report will be used for future performance improvements of the system.

Weapons of Military
Published on Jan 27, 2019

AN/AQS-20C mine-hunting sonar 

The U.S. Navy's standard for mine hunting, the AN/AQS-20 is an advanced minehunting sonar system that has been designated as the minehunting sonar for the Littoral Combat Ship's (LCS) mine countermeasure mission package.

The AN/AQS-20 incorporates four separate sonars in a compact, lightweight and hydro-dynamically stable towed body. It uses state-of-the-art imaging sonars, signal processing and computer algorithms to provide real-time, computer-aided detection and classification against the full spectrum of threat mines. The AN/AQS-20 automatically localizes mine-like objects and provides the operator with a visual image and a contact data list. All mission data is recorded for post-mission analysis.


The AN/AQS-20's computer processing power and advanced signal processing, coupled with its portability, reduces the amount of time required to search an area while significantly increasing search-rate agility. By reducing the size of the platform and the number of crew required to deploy the system, the AN/AQS-20 safely and efficiently consolidates expansive mine-sweeping operations that previously required a large warfare ship manned by more than 80 crew members.

This low-risk approach gives the fleet an organic mine countermeasures capability in the near term that meets all Navy requirements. The AN/AQS-20 towed body satisfies the requirements of three platforms through common hardware, software and interfaces; common integrated logistics support; and modular operational configurations. The AN/AQS-20 has been extensively tested and operated from unmanned, underwater vehicles such as the AN/WLD-1 and was the only minehunting sonar sensor developed, tested and certified for Remote Multi Mission Vehicle (RMMV) deployment. It is the most advanced and capable mine warfare sensor system, fully integrated with and effectively operated from the LCS 2.


The combination of sidescan, forward-looking and gapfiller sonars enables the AN/AQS-20 to detect and classify mine-like objects from the seafloor to the near surface in a single pass. The system also has an electro-optics identification capability that delivers high-definition images of bottom mines using Streak Tube Imaging Laser (STIL) technology. The STIL technology provides the operator with both range and contrast data for post-mission analysis to aid in mine identification.

Four modes of operation are provided:

  • Single Pass Shallow (SPS) Mode — Bottom and moored mine coverage in a single pass
  • Single Pass Deep (SPD) Mode — Moored mine coverage in deep water
  • Volume Mine (VOL) Mode — Volume mine coverage at four times the area search rate
  • Identification (ID SPS) Mode — Bottom and moored mine coverage in a single pass plus optical imaging of bottom mines

These modes enable the AN/AQS-20 to give timely and accurate information on the location and position of mines to support neutralization by systems such as the Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS). Source:

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