The US Navy’s uncrewed influence sweep system (UISS) programme has completed the ship-based initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E).

The IOT&E was conducted on board the littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Manchester (LCS 14) off the California coast in May and June.

The event witnessed end-to-end minesweeping missions and Navy Instrumented Threat Targets (NAVITTARs), showcasing UISS supportability and integration with the LCS sea frame.

The IOT&E team also conducted underway launch and recovery, maintainability demonstrations, as well as end-to-end mission execution in support of initial operational capability (IOC) and capability delivery to the fleet.

The UISS system is designed for the LCS under the mine countermeasures (MCM) mission package.

It comprises a MCM uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) and a towed minesweeping payload for ‘influence sweeping’ of magnetic, acoustic, and magnetic/acoustic combination mines.

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According to the US Navy, the system can also be launched from shore or from vessels of opportunity.

LCS Mission Modules Program Manager (PMS420) captain Godfrey Weekes said: “Completion of this operational test event achieves a major milestone for the UISS Program of Record and demonstrates continued progress to fielding the full capability of the MCM Mission Package aboard LCS.

“The test event demonstrated for the first time both the capability and sustainability of a minesweeping capability using an unmanned system from an LCS in an operationally realistic environment.

“I want to highlight the adaptability and dedication of the test teams across many organisations in executing these critical tests despite the challenges imposed by Covid-19.”

All operations were executed by the LCS MCM sailors during the UISS IOT&E events.

These events included shore and ship-based launch and retrieval, command and control (C2), system maintenance, mission planning and post-mission analysis.

The next step for UISS is to proceed to IOC upon approval by PMS420.