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Navy Minehunting Fleet Upgraded with Improved Sonar Capability

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120126-23

From Program Executive Officer Littoral Combat Ships Public Affairs Office

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The first installation of the AN/SQQ-32(V)4 minehunting sonar upgrade began Jan. 11, aboard USS Guardian (MCM 5), in Sasebo, Japan, by engineers from Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, Fla.

Designed to meet the modern challenges of mine detection and classification, the new system is a high-frequency, wideband upgrade to the currently used AN/SQQ-32(V)3 sonar. This upgrade will improve sonar detection performance in high clutter environments, increase instantaneous area search rate for stealthy targets, and provide improved target resolution imagery. These combined sensor improvements will address identified capability gaps and provide warfighters with the best capability available to fight and win in the littorals.

"In 2006, the government and the University of Texas team began development efforts, resulting in an engineering development model capability demonstration on USS Sentry (MCM 3) in 2009," said Donna Carson-Jelley, mine warfare program manager for Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships (PEO LCS). "We now see all of that hard work culminating in the first production installation on MCM 5 two years later. 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."

The Navy verified that sonar system performance met preliminary requirements during factory acceptance testing in September 2011, which supported the decision to proceed with the next phase of evaluation. Subsequently, the first production unit completed in-water testing in October 2011. These combined tests confirmed that the lead production system met or exceeded the required performance standards.

This installation is planned to be completed in April. Installations are scheduled for seven other MCMs in the Navy's 5th and 7th fleets through fiscal year 2015.

PEO LCS, an affiliated Program Executive Office of the Naval Sea Systems Command, provides a single program executive responsible for acquiring and sustaining mission capabilities of the littoral combat ship class, as well as legacy mine warfare systems.

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