The US Navy’s new surface mine countermeasure (MCM) unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) system has successfully completed all stages of formal sea acceptance testing (SAT).
The latest UUV system has been named Knifefish and is slated to commence developmental tests and operational assessment evaluations following the successful completion of the SAT programme.
Personnel from General Dynamics Mission Systems carried out the acceptance trials off the coast of Boston, Massachusetts.
The trial programme used US Navy mine test targets and included a wide range of subsea MCM operational scenarios in various simulated mine fields.
General Dynamics Mission Systems vice-president and general manager Carlo Zaffanella said: “The successful sea acceptance tests are the result of strong collaboration and teamwork between the General Dynamics and US Navy Knifefish team.
“These tests prove the Knifefish system can detect, classify and identify undersea mines in high-clutter environments.”
General Dynamics is the prime contractor for the Knifefish programme and has also successfully concluded initial Navy Fleet operator training as part of the transition into the next stage of testing.
The company was responsible for designing the tactical UUV using an open architecture concept, which can be easily upgraded to accommodate a varied range of missions.
Knifefish is a medium-class MCM UUV that has been developed based on the General Dynamics Bluefin Robotics Bluefin-21 deepwater autonomous undersea vehicle (AUV).
It was primarily developed for deployment from the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) and other vessels.
The unmanned system will help reduce risks for navy personnel by operating in the minefield as an off-board sensor, allowing the host vessel to stay outside of the boundaries of the minefield.