The US Navy and General Dynamics Mission Systems have successfully completed a comprehensive evaluation of the Knifefish autonomous surface mine countermeasure (SMCM) unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV).

The test events were conducted in Boston, Massachusetts, and made use of submerged mine test targets supplied by the US Navy.

US Navy Unmanned Maritime Systems Programme Office (PMS406) programme manager captain Jon Rucker said: “The navy continues to work with its industry partner General Dynamics Mission Systems to develop, test, and deliver the needed Knifefish capability to the fleet.

“The system performed well against a variety of surrogate targets and we are confident we will refine its performance to support the planned schedule in 2017.”

The comprehensive assessment showed the capability of the UUV to detect and classify potential mines at various depths and on the seafloor.

"The information and situational awareness Knifefish will deliver to sailors is a quantum leap in clarity and accuracy over other mine-hunting systems."

General Dynamics Mission Systems Maritime and Strategic Systems vice-president and general manager Carlo Zaffanella said: “The information and situational awareness Knifefish will deliver to sailors is a quantum leap in clarity and accuracy over other mine-hunting systems currently used by the navy.”

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The system will undergo additional at-sea testing later this year to further refine system performance prior to formal system acceptance testing with the US Navy.

Knifefish is a heavyweight-class mine countermeasure UUV designed to be deployed from US Navy surface vessels.

The UUV will help reduce risk to personnel by operating in the minefield as an off-board sensor, while the host vessel stays outside the minefield boundaries.

Image: Knifefish evaluation demonstrates UUV's capability to identify and classify potential mines. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto/US Navy.