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Japan receives first AQS-24A mine-hunting system

19th June 2013 - 15:59 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is a step closer to deploying Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24A airborne mine-hunting vehicles on its new MCH-101 helicopter platform, with the first system recently delivered by the company. Northrop Grumman will deliver four systems in total under contracts signed in 2011 and 2012.

The AQS-24A is a high-speed mine-hunting system that is primarily towed from the MH-53E helicopter in US Navy service, and has been adapted easily to the JMSDF version of the EH-101 aircraft.

The AQS-24A contains a laser line scanner that provides precision optical identification of underwater mines and other objects of interest. The AQS-24A allows for simultaneous operation of the sonar and laser, which significantly improves area coverage rate, shortens the mine clearance timeline and alleviates unnecessary maintenance cycles. Advanced navigation controls and processing provide highly accurate target positioning.

Tom Jones, vice president of Northrop Grumman's Undersea Systems business unit, said: ‘This first delivery is a major milestone in the development of Japan's airborne mine-hunting capability. The effort marks the first complete build of an AQS-24A since eight were delivered to the US Navy in 1995. It demonstrates that the configuration baseline is relevant to modern threats, can be rapidly produced, and is suitable for other international and domestic customers.

‘These two mine detection systems will provide Japan with an unprecedented, complete surface-to-bottom mine detection capability from a helicopter.’

Northrop Grumman will deliver the first of four Airborne Laser Mine Detection Systems (ALMDS) to the JMSDF later this summer, to operate in conjunction with the AQS-24A. ALMDS is a laser-based, light detection and ranging sensor system that detects, classifies and localises near-surface mine-like objects from above the waterline and is complementary to the AQS-24A.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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