Northrop Grumman boosts AQS-24B minehunting UAV with SeeTrack

Northrop Grumman and SeeByte have teamed up to incorporate mine hunting sensor data collected by the AQS-24B autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) into the SeeTrack system to enhance its autonomous target recognition (ATR) capability.

The AQS24-B minehunter and console. Photo: Northtrop Grumman

“The merging of the unmanned surface vessel-based AQS-24B with the SeeByte ATR will provide international navies with a better probability of detection and classification of bottom mines than is currently possible with an operator-only system,” said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman and SeeByte began their collaboration over a year ago and will, according to Northtrop Grumman, be ready to demonstrate an initial release of this new capability during the Australian Navy’s planned Autonomous Warrior 18 exercise in Jervis Bay, Sydney, NSW in November.

“This will be the first ATR in existence directly supporting the highest-speed synthetic aperture sonar in the world, and marks a true advancement in the state of the art for such capabilities,” said Bob Black, CEO of SeeByte.

The product of this collaboration will be available for upcoming new mine countermeasures ship and payload programs across Europe, the Middle East and Pacific Rim.

According to Northrop Grumman, the AQS-24B scans the ocean floor at a high speed of 18 knots. It utilizes a high-resolution, side scan sonar for real time detection, localization, and classification of mines. It also features a laser line scanner to provide precision optical identification.