Northrop Grumman has successfully demonstrated unmanned mine-hunting capabilities using the high-speed AQS-24B sensor.

This effort, which the company say is a follow-on to the successful operation during Unmanned Warrior in Scotland, in October 2016, demonstrated the high area coverage rate achievable through combining the Atlas Elektronik UK ARCIMS unmanned surface vessel and Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24B mine hunting system.

According to a press release:

“The ARCIMS USV has proven to be an extremely stable platform ideally suited for towing the high-speed AQS-24B in rough seas.  The exercise not only demonstrated the modularity and ease of integration of the AQS-24B payload, but also the importance of the laser line scan sensor which serves as a gap filler for the high speed synthetic aperture sonar.”

Andrew Tyler, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Europe said:

“This exercise further demonstrates that Northrop Grumman’s unmanned surface vessel MCM capabilities are well advanced.

Our collaborative approach is helping to position us to serve a leading role in the emerging underwater sensing and networking environment.”

Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems said:

“Our team’s demonstration at Belgium North Sea Unmanned MCM Trials proves that unmanned systems combined with the right payloads can perform high-speed mine countermeasures tasks, greatly reducing the mine clearance timeline while keeping naval personnel out of harm’s way.

The ARCIMS – AQS-24B combination provides a highly effective and affordable mine countermeasure solution for our allies and theatre security partners.”


  1. This is important news, as the RN have 15 minesweepers that could be replaced by having these on 15 T31’s and the rest of the combat fleet.

    If we replace the 15 minesweepers with 15 T31 that would bring our escort fleet into the 30’s without losing capability.

    This is the future for MHVC – the RN can and should move now to make their fleet more multi purpose. I believe the T31 should be a smaller T26 and as you will all know I have banged on about this system for some time.

    40 escorts all with these on and we are back in the premier league. T26 should all have Sampson and 64 VLS cells, 4 Arcims and 2CB90’s. T31’s should have Artisan 24 VLS cells 2 Arcims and 2 CB90s’.

    This is a plan that is doable and sustainable but only if we start removing specialist ships out of the front line and replacing them with multi mission escorts and support vessels.

  2. From what I understand talking to Muppets is that the capability for these boats is most likely to be placed on HUNT MCMVs. With the removal of the Combined influence Sweep system ( The winches remain for stability reasons only) The rear part of the sweep deck has plenty of room to receive the boat and the associated equipment. A large A Frame crane will lift the boats into and out of the water

    I doubt that T31 will get the capability. If you want to do MCMV up close to gain Intelligence from a mine you need a low mag hull and divers. The use and technology associated with UuAV’s is just not robust enough yet.
    Add to that the GRP hulls on the Hunts and SRMVs are proving to be extremly resiliant and will probabley last for at least another 30 years.

    I for one would not want to be anywhere near a potential mine field in any proposed T31 irrespective of the remote control standoff sytems being used. The T31 wont be shock proofed, quiet or low mag .
    CAPTOR and Rising mines will still “reach out and touch you” even at standoff distances.


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