Northrop Grumman has started to manufacture components of the AQS-24B towed minehunting system with Marand Precision Engineering in Australia at its Moorabbin, Victoria, facility.
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The AQS-24 minehunting system includes an operational high speed synthetic aperture sonar (HSSAS) and an optical laser line scan sensor.
The system performs high resolution detection, localisation, classification and identification of mine-like objects from helicopter and unmanned surface vessel platforms at speeds up to 18 knots. Thirty-one systems are currently deployed worldwide.
Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems at Northrop Grumman, said, "Northrop Grumman is committed to providing our customers worldwide with a sustainable and affordable minehunting system."
Marand designs and manufactures complex and innovative equipment and products for the aerospace, defence, automotive, rail and renewable energy industries.
"Our partnership with Australian industry enables us to source key components from local manufacturers. This approach provides Australian industry with the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with our customers to transition much of the build and support of the system to them. This is our approach for the AQS-24 in Australia and worldwide," Lytle added.
The towed vehicle shell assemblies and sonar array housings being manufactured in Australia for the AQS-24B will benefit from Marand’s extensive experience on other successful programs, such as the F-35.
Assemblies will be delivered this summer to satisfy existing spares contracts Northrop Grumman has to support fielded and operational AQS-24 systems.
Steve Mellor, general manager of Marand defence partnerships, said, "This is fantastic news; we are thrilled to be selected by Northrop Grumman as their partner for the AQS-24B program. Having received our very first order from Northrop Grumman was an important step towards a long-term relationship."
Northrop Grumman has also expanded its current partnership with Sydney-based Electrotech Australia, which currently performs post-delivery support of Northrop Grumman navigation and radar systems operating in Australia, to include future sustainment of the AQS-24B minehunting sensor systems.
Electrotech is an industry service leader for marine electronics and satellite communications equipment in Australia.
Stephen Renkert, CEO of Electrotech, explained, "The partnership with Northrop Grumman has been an excellent one for over 20 years. We welcome the opportunity to add the highly successful AQS-24 to our portfolio."
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defence and cyber space to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.