Representatives from the U. S. Navy’s Program Executive Office, Littoral Combat Ships Unmanned Maritime Systems Program Office and General Dynamics unveiled a quarter-scale model of the Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle, known as “Knifefish,” at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition being held in National Harbor, Md.
Knifefish is a heavyweight-class, minehunting, unmanned undersea vehicle designed for deployment by forward operating forces, and will be a part of the Littoral Combat Ship Mine Countermeasures Mission Package.
The SMCM UUV system will allow Navy commanders and sailors to detect and identify mines in high-clutter underwater environments without putting sailors in harm’s way, including mines that are suspended in the ocean, resting on the sea floor or buried. Additionally, it will gather environmental data that can provide intelligence support for other mine warfare systems.
“Knifefish represents a major step forward for unmanned undersea technology and will provide sailors with a reliable, safe, cost-efficient capability that is not currently a part of the Navy’s portfolio,” said Nadia Short, vice president for Strategy and Business Development at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. “Our team took advantage of extensive open architecture expertise to develop a design that ensures Knifefish will continue to evolve with the Navy, as mission needs change and advance.”
Knifefish recently completed a successful system requirements review on schedule and will progress through the preliminary design review in May of this year. Knifefish is expected to attain initial operational capability in 2017.
The development and manufacturing work on this program is performed in Greensboro, N.C., Fairfax, Va., Quincy, Mass., Braintree, Mass., and Panama City, Fla.