The Harpoon HeadQuarters
Login: Password:  

AN/SQS-53 sonar 

AN/SQS-53 sonar

(United States)

Notes: This bow-mounted system was developed as a replacement for the AN/SQS-26, and is now generally regarded as the best surface-ship sonar in the world. The AN/SQS-53 uses a bow dome of a heavy rubber material (compared to the AN/SQS-26’s metal dome) and directly interfaces with the Mk116 ASW warfare suite. Better reliability was also a goal, and the AN/SQS-53 is claimed to have a 2000-hour mean time between failures and the USN claims that a repair technician can be trained in 5 weeks (compared to 5 months for the AN/SQS-26). The system was developed by General Electric and declared ready in 1972 and entered fleet service in 1975.

The AN/SQS-53B was a major 1980s upgrade including the AN/UYS-1 and AN/UYK-44(V) (aka the “yuk-forty-four) digital processor. It greatly improved range and performance. The AN/SQS-53C also added the AN/UYH-1 compact processor and uses 50% less space internally; it can also interface with the AN/SQQ-89 shipwide combat system. All surviving USN systems are now upgraded to either the -B or -C standard. The AN/SQS-53D upgrade of 1997 simply replaced any remaining analog gear in the few ships still using the -B model at that time.

The system allows for tracking over 100 contacts in both active and passive (including auto-track in passive), search, and passive classification functions. The array itself is a honeycomb-pattern cylinder with 576 transducers. Cost of a system was $6.3 million for the basic model, and between $10-11 million for the -B and -C sets.

Japanese nomenclature is OQS-102, manufactured under license by NEC.

Carried aboard: Virginia class CGNs, Ticonderoga class CGs, Belknap class CGs, Kongo class DDGs, Arleigh Burke class DDGs, Kidd class DDGs, Spruance class DDs.

(Note: Figures below are based on unclassified available data, and an average of conditions including depth, temperature, sea state, ambient noise, etc)



Range (active):


Direct-path: 8NM

Surface ducting: 10NM

Bottom-Bounce: 17NM

Range (passive):


Direct-path: 25NM

CZ: 34NM and 65NM average

Active transmission modes:

FM pulse and CW

FM pulse, CW, omni-directional pulse, continuous rotational-directed, underwater communications (“PROBE ALERT”)



Entry created by: Jason W. Henson

Related database records

The HarpoonHQ database & encyclopedia web application
Powered by Strip-Joint 2.1 technology
(c)2003-2007 Dimitris "Sunburn" Dranidis
Contact Us