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Raytheon Company delivered its 10th AN/AQS-20C minehunting sonar system to the U.S. Navy. The sonar-towed body was officially transferred to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division. The system—which is the program of record for the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship mine countermeasure mission package—is now fully qualified and will move toward initial operating capability.
The AN/AQS-20C comprises five distinct sonars, including a synthetic aperture sonar that provides the highest possible resolution for acoustic identification. The system detects, classifies, localizes, and identifies mines on the seabed, near-bottom moored mines, volume mines, and near-surface mines.
"AQS-20C is capable of enabling true single-pass, minehunting when paired with the Barracuda mine neutralizer," said Wade Knudson, senior director of Raytheon's Undersea Warfare Systems business area. "Delivery of the 10th towed body brings this critical autonomous technology one step closer to IOC."
The AQS-20C system is platform agnostic and can be integrated onto various tow vehicles. It is a key element in single sortie detect-to-engage capability, which combines the search-detect-identify and neutralize elements of an MCM mission on a single platform. The program completed developmental testing in February 2019, and will undergo further integration on the MCM Unmanned Surface Vehicle in early 2020 and ultimately aboard the LCS.