The US Navy’s Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) programme, based on Textron Systems’ Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) will soon enter low-rate initial production (LRIP) after receiving a milestone C decision.

The US Navy said it would soon exercise options to procure the first three LRIP systems under an existing contract with Textron.

Textron senior vice president applied technologies & advanced programs Wayne Prender said: “The Textron and US Navy teams have worked diligently to reach this milestone C decision.

“We recognise the time on the water and dedication of the testing teams which enabled us to enter this phase of the programme.”

The system is designed to operate as part of the littoral combat ship (LCS) mine countermeasure (MCM) package. UISS consists of a mine countermeasure unmanned surface vessel (USV) and a towed minesweeping package that can detect magnetic, acoustic and combination mines. Although being designed for the LCS the systems can operate from other vessels or be launched from the shore.

Development testing of the system concluded last November, paving the way for the milestone C decision on Wednesday. UISS is the US Navy’s first USV programme of record and is capable of carrying interchangeable payloads for different mission sets.

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Delivery of the first LRIP UISS systems is set for 2021. In trials, LCS detachment sailors tested shore-based launching and retrieval of the USV, operated the system, and carried out command and control, mission planning, and post-mission analysis. USV has also completed integration trials with Littoral Combat Ships and other undisclosed vessels.

Testing included a number of end-to-end minesweeping missions, using simulated mine targets.

UISS is based on Textron’s CUSV, a multi-mission surface vehicle designed to operate as a MCM, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform among others.