Knifefish UUV Conducts
Knifefish Unmanned Undersea
Vehicle (UUV) is designed for
deployment from Navy surface
vessels. The Knifefish is based
on the General Dynamics Bluefin
Robotics Bluefin-21 deepwater
autonomous underwater vehicle.
The Knifefish UUV is an integral
mission component of the Mine
Countermeasures Mission Package
for the littoral combat ships (LCSs).
The procurement quantity of the
program will depend on the Navy’s
ultimate requirement for the LCS.
GENERAL DYNAMICS MISSION SYS TEMS
The Knifefish Unmanned Undersea Vehicle.
“Knifefish is a medium-class autonomous UUV designed
to keep our fleet out of harm’s way when operating in
areas where underwater mines may be present. As a key
Naval Sea Systems Command
awarded General Dynamics a
contract to design and build the
Surface Mine Countermeasure
Unmanned Undersea Vehicle system in September 2011. The contract, with a maximum potential
value of $86.7 million, called for
three Engineering Development
Model (EDM) UUVs and five low-rate initial production systems, if
all options are exercised. General
Dynamics selected the Bluefin-21
as the vehicle for the Knifefish
and acquired Bluefin Robotics in
2016. The EDMs currently are in
element of the overall mine countermeasures mission,
its specific role is to detect, classify and identify volume,
bottom and buried mines in a high-clutter environment.
While doing so, it also gathers other environmental data
to support the overall mission.
The Knifefish is designed to be launched not only from the LCS, but other
craft of opportunity. The mission is programmed at the beginning of a mission, so there is no operator in the loop once we put it in the water. The
Knifefish is modular in nature and can be shipped on an aircraft, so it can be
deployed literally around the world. The situational awareness Knifefish will
provide to the fleet is a quantum leap in clarity and accuracy over the other
mine-hunting systems currently used by the Navy.
Matt Graziano is the director of
Undersea Systems for General
Dynamics Mission Systems,
In December, the Knifefish team successfully completed a comprehensive evaluation of Knifefish, in coordination with the Navy, in tests
conducted off the coast of Boston using submerged Navy mine test targets.
The evaluation represents a significant milestone in the Knifefish program
and demonstrates the UUV’s capability to detect and classify potential
mines, at a variety of depths, each posing a unique threat to naval vessels
operating in a mission area. Knifefish will undergo additional at-sea testing
this year to further refine system performance in advance of formal System
Acceptance Testing with the Navy.”