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January 5, 2022

US Navy completes underwater explosion shock test on UISS

The testing intended to assess UISS’ ability to conduct its mission in risky settings.

The US Navy’s uncrewed influence sweep system (UISS) has successfully concluded underwater explosion (UNDEX) shock testing.

Announced by the Programme Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC), the testing was carried out by the Aberdeen Test Center and Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock.

Textron and NSWC Panama City supported the UNDEX trials.

The trials aimed to test UISS’ ability to conduct its mission in dangerous conditions, as well as its survivability.

UISS is part of the navy’s suite of mine countermeasure capabilities. It is designed for the littoral combat ships (LCS) but can be operated from shore or other ships.

It consists of an acoustic and magnetic minesweeping package and the uncrewed, semi-autonomous, diesel-driven, aluminium-hulled mine countermeasures uncrewed surface vehicle (MCM USV).

LCS Mission Modules programme manager captain Godfrey Weekes said: “The UISS UNDEX test demonstrates the survivability of the MCM USV. This brings us one step closer to delivering the MCM mission package to the fleet.”

UISS programme finished shipboard Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) onboard USS Cincinnati (LCS 20) in June 2021 and Cyber IOT&E in September of the same year.

In August last year, the programme concluded the vessel based IOT&E onboard the littoral combat ship USS Manchester (LCS 14).

Weekes added: “Completion of these tests showcased the capability and resiliency of the MCM USV and is a critical milestone for the programme.

“The MCM USV is the centrepiece of the MCM mission package, and this test demonstrates the final steps we’re taking for MCM mission package IOT&E and fielding.”

The new USV will replace the US Navy’s ageing Avenger-class minesweeping vessels, as well as MH-53Es Sea Dragon helicopters.

At present, it is conducting integration trials of the AQS-20C towed minehunting sonar. The USV can also be integrated with modular payloads to provide more MCM capabilities.

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