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New critical mine hunting capability for U.S. Navy

U.S. and Japanese mine hunting teams collaborate.
BAE Systems recently showcased a new cutting-edge mine hunting capability it is providing the U.S. Navy. The technology enables the AVENGER Class Mine Countermeasures ships to detect stealthy mines in challenging and cluttered underwater environments.

BAE Systems also announced it has delivered the second AN/SQQ-32(V)4 Mine Hunting Sonar System – for ship installation in Sasebo, Japan – to the U.S. Navy ahead of schedule, as part of a $27.5 million contract to provide nine upgraded systems and spares to the Navy under terms of the “Build to Print” order.

The AN/SQQ-32(V)4 is the High Frequency Wide Band (HFWB) detection sonar upgrade to the in-service AN/SQQ-32(V)3 Mine Hunting Sonar Set.

“We are pleased to provide the U.S. Navy with the latest in mine countermeasures capabilities.  The High Frequency Wide Band upgrade will enable the Navy to more effectively detect stealthy mines to help ensure the safety of our sailors.” said Michael Houle, program manager for BAE Systems.  “Our dedicated industry team is focused on delivering this much needed technology to the Fleet to help the Navy meet its aggressive ship installation schedules.”

"In 2006, the Government – University of Texas team began development efforts, resulting in a Engineering Development Model capability demonstration on U.S.S. Sentry in 2009," says Donna Carson-Jelley, Program Manager (PMS495) Mine Warfare Program Office.  "This sonar upgrade will provide our sailors with state-of-the-art mine detection capability, enhancing their capability for detecting mines and saving our Sailors valuable mission time.  We now see all of our hard work culminating with yet another delivery of an AN/SQQ32 sonar set ahead of schedule!"

The AN/SQQ-32(V)4 Mine Hunting Sonar HFWB upgrade was developed by Applied Research Laboratory University of Texas (ARL:UT) of Austin, Texas and Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) of Panama City, Fla. to improve detection of mines in high-clutter bottom environments, thereby improving the overall area clearance rate for the AVENGER Class Mine Countermeasures ships.

BAE Systems has invested several million dollars over the past three years to create an Undersea Systems Center of Excellence to produce highly reliable sonar systems and maritime electronics.  This facility well positions the company to meet the growing needs of the U.S. Navy.

The upgraded systems are produced in Hudson, N.H. and the remaining systems are expected to be upgraded by 2013.

Ref. 037/2012