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Integrating AQS-20 Sonar and Barracuda UUV: A New Era in Underwater Mine Neutralization.

| Naval News Navy 2024

The integration of the AQS-20 sonar and Barracuda system into naval operations represents a strategic approach to mitigating the threat posed by underwater mines. These systems serve as critical components in the detection, classification, and neutralization of mine threats.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 AQS-20 sonar and Barracuda UUV. (Picture source: RTX)

The AQS-20 system, a product of Raytheon Technologies, is designed with a focus on the accurate identification of underwater mines. It features advanced sonar technology that includes side-looking sonar arrays for high-resolution imaging of the ocean floor, essential for mine identification.

Its volume search capability complements this by detecting objects within the water column, ensuring a comprehensive search. The inclusion of gap filler sonar aims to eliminate blind spots by covering areas close to the tow vehicle, and its real-time data processing employs advanced algorithms for the immediate classification of potential threats, thereby streamlining the mine detection process.

Following the detection and classification of mines by the AQS-20, the Barracuda unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) is deployed for neutralization. This system is equipped with autonomous navigation capabilities, allowing it to maneuver through complex underwater terrains independently. It carries an explosive charge specifically designed to neutralize the identified mines, ensuring the safety of the surrounding maritime area for naval operations.

This integrated approach significantly enhances the operational efficiency of naval mine countermeasures. Initially, the AQS-20 sonar conducts an exhaustive scan of the marine environment, utilizing its sophisticated sonar technology for a detailed search.

Upon identifying and classifying a potential mine, the Barracuda UUV is then tasked with neutralizing the threat. Its design allows it to autonomously locate and dispose of the mine, minimizing risks to human operators and maritime assets.

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