An unmanned undersea vehicle General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) built to support the U.S. Navy’s mine countermeasure missions has received Milestone C approval from the program executive officer for unmanned and small combatants, Naval Sea Systems Command reported Monday.
Following the Milestone C achievement, the Navy awarded General Dynamics Mission Systems a potential two-year, $44.6M contract modification to begin low-rate initial production of the Knifefish Surface Mine Countermeasure UUV, the Department of Defense said Monday.
The Knifefish UUV is part of the Littoral Combat Ship Mine Countermeasures Mission Package and works to detect and classify buried, bottom and volume mines in high-clutter environments using an automated target recognition software and a low-frequency broadband sonar.
NAVSEA will obligate the full contract amount from fiscal 2018 and 2019 “other” procurement funds at the time of award. LRIP work will occur in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Michigan and Virginia through August 2021.
Fleet sailors carried out developmental testing and operational assessment of the Knifefish system between January and May in various sites off the coasts of Florida and Massachusetts. Tests include launch and recovery, mission planning and data processing. NAVSEA said the service plans to buy a total of 30 Knifefish systems and is expected to decide on the full-rate production phase in fiscal year 2022.