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Northrop Grumman Undersea Drone Mine Hunter Successful in North Atlantic Tests

© AFP 2021 / PAUL J. RICHARDSNorthrop Grumman logo is shown at their Reston, Virginia, office. (File)
Northrop Grumman logo is shown at their Reston, Virginia, office. (File) - Sputnik International
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Northrop Grumman put on a successful demonstration of its underwater AQS-24B mine hunting drone capable of being launched by air or sea and towed in rough seas, the defense giant said in a statement on Monday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Atlas Elektronik, United Kingdom, manufactures the ARCIMS unmanned surface vessel, the statement noted. It can perform a number of tasks including minesweeping, surveillance and antisubmarine warfare.

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"Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully demonstrated unmanned mine-hunting capabilities using the high-speed AQS-24B sensor [towed from an unmanned surface vessel] during the Belgian Defense Technology & Industry Day trials at the Naval Base at Zeebrugge, Belgium," the statement explained. "The ARCIMS Unmanned Surface Vessel proved to be an extremely stable platform ideally suited for towing the high-speed AQS-24B in rough seas."

Mine countermeasures preparedness is a high priority for the US Navy, particularly with the recent focus on the littorals of NATO and partner countries bordering the North Atlantic, Baltic and Black Seas.

Russia holds the most diversified collection of sea-based mines, according to an Office of Naval Intelligence report, The Russian Navy – A Historic Transition. Russia's newest suite of mines includes computer assisted mines for stealthy maneuver and an encapsulate torpedo mine designed to launch a lightweight torpedo.

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