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General Dynamics Knifefish Unmanned Countermeasure Undersea Vehicle Low Rate Production


The Program Executive Officer for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC) granted Milestone C approval to the Knifefish Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Program. The decision clears the way for low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the system, PEO USC announced August 23, 2019.


General Dynamics Knifefish Unmanned Countermeasure Undersea Vehicle Low Rate Production 925 001 The Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (SMCM UUV), also known as Knifefish (Picture source: U.S. Navy )


General Dynamics Missions Systems Inc., is awarded a $44,595,146 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to previously-awarded contract N61331-11-C-0017 for low-rate initial production of the Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (SMCM UUV), also known as Knifefish. The contract was awarded by the U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

Knifefish is a heavyweight 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.

Knifefish’s job is to detect, avoid and identify mine threats, reducing the risk to personnel by operating in the minefield as an off-board sensor while the host ship stays outside the minefield boundaries. Knifefish also gathers environmental data to provide intelligence support for other mine warfare systems.

Operations performed by fleet Sailors during Developmental Testing and Operational Assessment included mission planning, launching and recovering the system, monitoring the sorties and processing data. The unmanned undersea vehicles were deployed from a support craft in the vessels of opportunity configuration for all test events in order to provide a characterization of the performance of the entire Knifefish system, including the launch and recovery subsystem.

A full-rate production decision is expected in the fiscal year 2022 after additional testing of LRIP systems. The Navy plans to procure 30 Knifefish systems in all, 24 in support of LCS Mine Countermeasure Mission Packages and an additional six systems for deployment from vessels of opportunity.