General Dynamics Mission Systems recently delivered the first Knifefish surface mine countermeasure unmanned underwater vehicle (SMCM UUV) system under a contract awarded by the U.S. Navy on Aug. 26, 2019. The contract, awarded immediately after a successful Milestone C decision and approval to enter low-rate initial production (LRIP), calls for the procurement of five Knifefish systems (10 total UUVs) and support equipment. Knifefish SMCM is a medium-class mine countermeasure UUV intended for deployment from the Navy’s littoral combat ship and other Navy vessels of opportunity. General Dynamics Mission Systems is the prime contractor for the Knifefish program.
“Together with the U. S. Navy’s Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants, our Knifefish team has worked to deliver critical mine countermeasure mission capabilities to protect our Sailors,” said Carlo Zaffanella, vice president and general manager at General Dynamics Mission Systems. “We designed Knifefish using an open architecture concept that can be quickly and efficiently modified to accommodate a wide range of missions.”
Knifefish surface mine countermeasure unmanned underwater vehicle (SMCM) will reduce risk to personnel by operating within minefields as an off-board sensor while the host ship stays outside the minefield boundaries. The company designed the tactical UUV using an open architecture concept that can be quickly and efficiently modified to accommodate a wide range of missions. The Knifefish SMCM UUV is based on the General Dynamics Bluefin Robotics Bluefin®-21 deep-water autonomous undersea vehicle. Knifefish is a medium-class Mine Countermeasure (MCM) Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) designed for deployment off the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).
The Knifefish UUV provides the mine warfare commander with enhanced mine-hunting capability by detecting, classifying and identifying both buried mines and mines in high clutter environments. A critical element of the LCS Mine Countermeasure (MCM) mission package, which is comprised of many different mine warfare platforms, including Knifefish, is its common open systems architecture design. Such modularity of the mission package allows for platform flexibility and quick reconfiguration of the whole mission package in response to evolving and dynamic mission requirements the fleet will encounter day-to-day.